Developing Deciduous Bonsai Branch Structures

Part Three: Shaping Deciduous Tree Branches: Page 2 of 2

The new Bonsai Book for 2019 by Harry Harrington
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This series of four articles first appeared as part of Chapter 12 of my first book Bonsai Inspirations 1 and this excerpt contains what I believe to be essential information on how to design, build and improve the branches and branch structure of a deciduous or broadleaf bonsai.

Note that extensive information of how to build the branch structures of coniferous bonsai, such as Juniper and Pine, are contained within Bonsai Inspirations 2

Part One>> Building a Branch Structure

Part Two>> Autumn/Winter or Structural Pruning and Wiring

Part Four>> The Importance of Branch Taper in Bonsai

SHAPING DECIDUOUS TREE BRANCHES

Page 2 of 2:

bonsai branch

Year Three: The newly wired branch as seen from above.

bonsai branch

Year Three: The newly wired branch seen from the side.

Year Three: As in the previous two years, new shoots have appeared at the tips of the branches. Also, as a result of pinching back these new shoots, ‘backbudding’ has occured where new shoots have appeared further back along the branch.

The new shoots have been wired in the Autumn as previously described with the new shoots following similar but not identical lines to each other. When seen from the side it is possible to see that the new shoots on the branch have been wired so that they are still not crossing.

When the branch is seen from above it is possible to see that the shoots form together into a large fan-shape with each branch dividing into two new sub-branches.

bonsai branch

Year Five: The wired branch as seen from above.

bonsai branch

Year Five: The wired branch seen from the side.

By year five the branch has really begun to take shape. Ramification (the twiggyness) is excellent and there is good taper to the branch. A bonsai carrying a large number of branches as well developed as this would make an impressive sight.

But what happens now? Is the bonsai ‘complete’? Are there any improvements that can still be made? Or does the bonsai remain in stasis, a finished work of Art?

<<Shaping Deciduous Tree Branches: Page 1 of 2