So we recorded the majority of our Elm bonsai-in-training, or “potensai”, and posted the videos on our YouTube channel. The trimming session was split into a series of 5 short videos. Please go check them out. Our trainer talks through a lot of what he is doing, and drops some pretty good information. Below, I am going to highlight what we learned.
Here is our tree pre-trimming.
As a reminder, the chopstick buried in the soil is a marker for the front of our tree. (Check out this blog post for more info on finding the front of your tree.)
In our first video clip (1 of 5), the main point is to always try and cut to the bottom bud.
In the second clip (2 of 5), awareness of branch tapering is explained. A big part of this is not only cutting at the right place, but cutting at an angle which compliments the flow of the branch.
In the third clip (3 of 5), we recognized, trimmed and defined the top of the tree. We pretty much followed the longest, tapering branch up the tree. Then cuts were made to compliment the growth pattern and general shape of the the “top” branch.
In the fourth clip (4 of 5), some final cuts are made. Notice the big, aggressive cuts. You can’t be afraid to prune your tree. Again, notice how the angles the cuts were made compliments the branch shape and flow.
The fifth and final video of the series is a quick glimpse at the completed tree, and a view looking down.