Category Archives: Root Pruning

Bonsai Tree Roots

Part 24 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai tree rootsIn the previous post we learned the importance of the health of a bonsai’s root system and how the root hairs function. We also learned why water will move into a root hair and what can cause that process to reverse, causing harm or death to the bonsai. In this article we’ll continue discussing how to keep your bonsai tree roots healthy.

With the exception of desert plants, bonsai trees like to have their roots in moist, but not wet, soil at all times. This means that the soil must never be allowed to completely dry out or the tree will quickly die. If you discover one day that your bonsai is wilted and has drooping leaves but was in perfect health the previous day, it’s safe to assume you probably forgot to water it. Watering to often, however, can also harm the tree because it can allow root rot to set in.
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Bonsai Roots

Part 23 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai RootsBonsai hobbyists spend a majority of their “bonsai time” looking at and working with, the trunk, branches and leaves of their trees, but keep in mind that one third of the bonsai tree isn’t visible and yet needs a good deal of thought and care placed on it. This, of course, is the root system. Healthy bonsai roots are critical to the general health and vigor of the tree, but since they are out of sight, they’re often out of mind. Most of us only think about the roots when it’s time to re-pot, and then the thought process only encompasses whether or not the roots need to be trimmed.

The health of a bonsai’s root system is just as important to the tree as all its other parts. As a matter of fact, some would argue that there is no other part of the tree that’s more important than the roots because it is there that all of the nutrients and water are absorbed into the tree. The roots are also where the tree stores the great majority of its emergency ration of food and where the tree gets its ability to remain standing upright. A plant can get along without its leaves for several weeks and can easily survive when all its branches are removed (which is a typical way to initially begin styling a Ficus) yet if we remove too many roots the tree will die within just a few days.

So let’s spend some time discussing bonsai roots and how to keep them healthy.
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Bonsai Root Pruning

Part 19 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai DisplayBonsai root pruning is the one task, above all others, that can cause the death of your tree very quickly. However, avoiding the task may also readily kill your bonsai. Let’s discuss how to properly prune the roots of a bonsai to minimize the possibility of killing it.

Periodically every bonsai begins to outgrow its pot. Either the tree becomes too large for the pot it’s in or the tree’s roots become too crowded. Of these two conditions, overcrowded roots is the one you’ll most frequently encounter and it means you’ll need to remove the tree from its pot, wash all the dirt off it, untangled all the roots and then prune those same roots. If this task is not done carefully and correctly, your bonsai can die within a very few days.
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