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Article Teaser: Bonsai is literally the art form of training a plant or tree from its original size down to miniature form. The bonsai is then grown in a pot or container and through years of training, sculpted into various styles, depending on the type of tree and personal preference. If you are just getting started with an interest in bonsai, we want to start by recommending you take care when buying your first plants. One of the most important steps in getting started with bonsai is choosing the right plant or tree.

Keep reading below...

Bonsai In Your Backyard - Getting Started The Easy Way

Copyright (c) 2006-2017

Bonsai is literally the art form of training a plant or tree from its original size down to miniature form. The bonsai is then grown in a pot or container and through years of training, sculpted into various styles, depending on the type of tree and personal preference. If you are just getting started with an interest in bonsai, we want to start by recommending you take care when buying your first plants. One of the most important steps in getting started with bonsai is choosing the right plant or tree. You definitely want to start with a healthy species for the best chance of success.

One of the most important aspects of buying any bonsai is learning the proper way in which to care for it. Bonsai are unique in that most are intended for outdoor growth although they can be grown indoors as well. To achieve the beauty of the miniature plant or tree, specific care and training is required, which again, takes tremendous patience. You might be able to find healthy plants at your local nursery or gardening center that would work well for bonsai but a better option is to work with an actual bonsai grower. This way, in addition to purchasing the plant or tree, you are also being provided with invaluable information for care.

The types of plants and trees generally used for bonsai are intended for temperate climate. That means that even if grown indoors, they will need some time outdoors as well due to periods of dormancy. Keep in mind that you can choose certain plants and trees to be grown indoors but again, working with a reputable bonsai grower or nursery that specializes in bonsai is best, guiding you to the appropriate species. If you decide to go with an indoor species, the bonsai will likely do best by having a little afternoon sun and fresh air.

To create a beautiful bonsai, gentle but carefully planned training is needed. The interesting thing is that you could take literally any cutting or seeds, plant them outside, and if left alone, end up with a full size tree. The difference with bonsai is that the same cutting or seeds are trained as they begin to grow, forced to stay small. Then through a series of pruning, trimming, and wire training, the appearance of the trunk, along with size and density of the canopy, and the root system change. Over time, as you continue to provide the proper training, your tree will take shape into an actual bonsai.

The thing to remember is that this type of manipulation of the trunk and branches takes time. For this reason, the art form of bonsai is not for everyone. Instead, it is best accomplished by someone with patience and even a slight creative side. One of the most important aspects of training any bonsai is the root system. With most trees, the root system is buried beneath the soil and left alone. However, with the creation of bonsai, the roots are left alone for the first two to three years at which time the tree is repotted. To ensure the healthy growth of the bonsai, most experts recommend you use special bonsai soil, which has been perfectly blended with the appropriate nutrients.

Just as training, pruning, trimming, training, and potting is important, fertilizing is also a huge factor when growing bonsai. The key with fertilizing any tree or plant being trained for bonsai is to feed it while actively growing. Although you will find a number of quality fertilizer options on the market, a soluble solution provided every 10 to 14 days is best. The exact blend of fertilizer would depend somewhat on the type of tree so you want to work with a reputable company that will provide this information. To ensure the bonsai is absorbing the right amount of nutrients needed, full strength fertilizer is recommended.

Another important aspect of starting your backyard bonsai is water. Learning to grow and train bonsai takes time. This skill is not something you just learn overnight but over years. Therefore, mistakes will be made and adjustments required. One of the most common challenges is learning to correct way to water the bonsai. While that might sound simple, there is actually a fine art to doing it right. It is important to water your bonsai from the top, allowing excess water to run out through the drain holes. Then, the soil should be allowed to dry almost completely. An easy way to check this is to stick your finger down about one to two inches into the soil. If you can fee moisture, then do not water.

The frequency of watering your bonsai will depend on a number of things as well. Obviously, if you live in Texas where the climate is hot, then you would expect the tree to need water more often opposed to living on the east coast where temperatures are cooler. As with all aspects of growing bonsai, the first year will probably be the most challenging. During this time, you will be learning the exact care needed, making the required adjustments along the way.

To be successful at your own backyard bonsai, you have to understand the basics first. The interesting thing about growing bonsai is that overall the process is not difficult. However, the process is precise. For this reason, expect to make a few mistakes. Remember, you want the experience with growing and training bonsai to be fun and exciting, not a dreaded chore. Often, bonsai experts will recommend you purchase an inexpensive plant or tree for your first bonsai. That way, if you make a fatal mistake, you have not lost too much money.

The truth is that in addition to basic care of a backyard bonsai, the process of learning the various styles is something that can take years and years to achieve. Although you might want to see results immediately, you need to understand that with bonsai, this is simply not the case. Take your time and be patient. Once you get past the basic care of the bonsai to include feeding, watering, pruning, trimming, and so on, you can then choose the style for training. Keep in mind that certain styles work best with certain trees so determine the style that will give you the best results.

Now, when you do purchase your first plant or tree, after taking it home, just leave it in the container it came in. The tree will remain in this container for the first two to three years, allowing the root system to develop. While the bonsai is in the container, you would begin the process of cleaning off new branches growing out of the trunk, clipping off wild spears from the canopy, and just keeping the tree neat and orderly in appearance. Remember, you are not training the tree so much during this time but keeping it pruned and trimmed so it will remain miniature.

Another important consideration associated with pruning the canopy of the tree is the amount of foliage you remove. Typically, experts recommend that you never remove more than one-third of the tree's canopy in a single season. Instead, simply keep the canopy clipped back, producing a small, compact appearance. When you first get started pruning and trimming, do not expect much in the form of appearance. In fact, chances are your backyard bonsai will look a little shabby. This is perfectly normal and over time, will change. The key with bonsai is to accept that the first two to three years are going to be very basic in keeping the tree trimmed. Although you are not training the tree in an actual style, you are training it to remain small.

Finally, growing bonsai in the backyard also means working with the trunk. Typically, a bonsai has a single trunk, which over time is shaped. However, some styles of bonsai do include two trunks or even more. Take the forest or group style as an example. In this case and as the name suggests you could have 5 to 12 trees if you want, creating a "forest", or "group". Now, working with this style obviously is more for the advanced bonsai enthusiast but it certainly gives you a goal. As you begin the process of growing and training a bonsai, if you stick with it faithfully, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Erik A. Olsen teaches Bonsai Mastery techniques for the beginners. Read more about easy bonsai growing techniques at: http://www.bonsaigardener.org/

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Internal ID: #3666
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