File:Dwarf Japanese Juniper, 1975-2007.jpg

Bonsai About this sound listen (Japanese: 盆栽, literally "potted plant") is the art of miniaturization of trees by growing them in containers. Cultivation includes techniques for shaping, watering, and repotting in various styles of containers.Originating in China during the Han Dynasty, 'bonsai' is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word penzai (盆栽). The word bonsai has been used in the West as an umbrella term for all miniature trees. [1]

Often bonsai gardeners wish to provide an aged look to the bonsai tree. There are several ways in which this is done. One of the most popular ways in which this is done are deadwood techniques. Usually, deadwood techniques are done on conifers. Deciduous trees tend to shed the branch, and heal over the wound. Deadwood techniques are often used to hide defects, such as an overlarge branch, or to reduce the height of a tree that is too tall. The wood is treated with combination of lime and sulfur, which is available from many bonsai outlets. This preserves the wood. [2]


File:Bonsai IMG 6395.jpg
Jin (人) is a bonsai deadwood technique. A Jin is meant to show age, or show that the tree has had a struggle to survive. Jin is either a dead leader at the top of the tree, or a dead branch. Jins in nature are created when wind, lightning, or the weight of snow breaks a branch[3]. Trees with two leaders look unnatural, many bonsai gardeners turn the higher growing leader into a jin. This effect makes the tree look like it has been hit by lightning, adding to the feeling of age. [4]


File:Euonymus japonicus-Bonsai.jpg
Jin are common on coniferous species of bonsai. However, Jins do not work on deciduous and broadleaf species. On these species, the dead branches just rot and fall off the tree. Instead, bonsai gardeners make small indents where a branch used to be, and new wood grows around it forming a small hollow. This is what bonsai gardeners replicate with Uro.
File:Goshin, September 15, 2007.jpg
When removing a branch from a deciduous or broadleaf species, gardeners often make Uro. The cut that was made will not heal for 5-10 years. To avoid having an ugly wound for a decade, the gardener would make a small wound (usually with a drill) in an irregular shape, then treated with a lime-sulfur mixture. The lime sulfur mixture is usually combined with a small amount of paint a similar color to the tree to make it look more natural. If the paint was not included, the lime-sulfur solution would make it bone white.[5]

Sharimiki and similar techniques

File:Bougainvillea Bonsai.jpg
In Sharimiki, part of the trunk of the tree dies, and the rest is alive. This is also known as the driftwood style, because of a large portion of the tree looking similar to driftwood. In driftwood style, the majority of the trunk is just dead. The following are not Sharimiki, but are similar. [6]


Sabamiki is a form of Sharimiki. In Sabamiki there is a long indent in the trunk of the tree (see picture on left). This is often done by stripping and carving out part of the trunk then the wound is often treated with lime-sulfur solution. Some bonsai gardeners believe that this should be done three to four months after the wound is opened. It is vital that part of the trunk be left alive, or else everything above it will die.[7]


Shari is just like Sabamiki, just less extreme. In Shari, it is only a thin layer of bark cut off. [8]


In Japanese folklore, tanuki (?, alternatively タヌキ), the Japanese raccoon dog, are shape-changing tricksters.

Tanuki bonsai are sometimes known as Phoenix Grafts in the West. In Tanuki bonsai, a very young tree is taken, and put into an interesting piece of deadwood, that has had a groove carved into it. The sapling (which is usually a juniper) is affixed to the deadwood, until the young tree has grown into the deadwood. Then the nail, screw, or other affixing device is removed, and then the tree is grown with typical bonsai techniques.

Many Westerners consider Tanuki a true bonsai technique, however in Japan it is not considered as such. Japanese do make Tanuki bonsai, but they are not considered true bonsai, and would never be seen at a Japanese bonsai show.


Bonsai Tutorials Videos including deadwood creation By Graham Potter


External links

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