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The Lost Art of Bonsai (next)


images (19) Speaking of the pot, one significant part of bonsai is the pot that the tree is planted in. In general, the pot is usually filled not only with dirt and the tree, but also with rocks looking like miniature boulders, as

well as moss. The pots are generally shallow and small in nature, as it causes the tree to appear much larger. Oftentimes, the tree is straddling a "boulder," with its roots are exposed to the surface, creating the illusion that the tree is growing out of the cleft of a mountain.
Many different shaping techniques are employed, some of which are not used in conventional gardening. For example, various methods of wiring are used to ensure that the tree takes the desired shape. Sometimes, wire is wrapped around the base of the trunk in order to cause it to thicken. Other times, the branches are bent and wired in an opposite direction of the natural shape of the tree. Grafting is also very common among bonsai artists, especially if they wish to produce a cross-pollinated feel, with the tree bearing different colored flowers. Grafting is also used to shape the overall tree, such as creating three subtrunks from one main trunk. Bonsai artist will cut the tree away from the trunk, and then cut three slits in the trunk. Then, they will cut three smaller branches and insert them into the slits on the trunk. After roughly a year, the branches will have fully taken hold, and where there was originally one trunk, there is now three.
Root pruning also plays an important part in the appearance and growth of the tree. The reason that the trees fit into the smaller pots is because a certain pruning technique is employed, one in which the larger taproots are removed, leaving the smaller "hair" roots to do most of the soaking up of water. This creates a more efficient, more dense, root system.
In general, bonsai can be just as pleasurable of a pasttime as traditional gardening. With sunlight, water, good nutrients, and a little patience, you can be on your way to creating some of the most beautiful and authentic art specimens the world has ever known…pieces of Mother Nature herself.

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