Category Archives: Bonsai Shows

Preparing a Bonsai for Show

Part 29 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai at Malvern Garden show

If you’re considering entering one or more of your bonsai trees into a bonsai exhibit, show or other public display there are a few things you’ll need to do to get your tree ready for the show. Especially if you want your tree to be on the same professional level as all the others.

In bonsai, as all hobbyists know, small leaves are of special value. For this reason, if you enter a display or show with a tree on which you have not tried to miniaturize the leaves (if they need it), you are already far behind. So you need to begin this “getting ready for a show” by doing something about leaf size. Because new leaves do not just spring out after defoliation, the process of getting ready for a show should start about 12 weeks ahead of the show date. This allows plenty of time for the tree to produce a full canopy of new leaves before show time. For tropical trees, keep in mind that if the show is in mid winter, you shouldn’t defoliate. Tropical trees are very unhappy about having all their leaves plucked off during that time of year, so don’t do it. In this case you’re safer to show the tree as is.
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