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What makes a good bonsai

By Rudi Adam

  1. A good spread of surface roots springing from the base and radiating in all directions, gradually disappearing into the soil.
  2. A strong well shaped trunk spring naturally from the roots. and tapering evenly towards the apex, never abruptly chopped off, without wire marks.
  3. Good well proportioned branches, fitting not only the style and species, but also discerning the mood of the planting - never in profusion, but simple and well spaced and with natural appearance.
  4. The sign of good health and stability, such as leaf size and colour, natural looking ground cover (be it moss, gravel or bare soil). No sign of bad pruning scars.
  5. Flowers, fruit and leaves must be in proportion.
  6. Tree and container must harmonise and complement each other as well as the style.
  7. Proper spacing and planting in container so as to show off the roots and trunk to its best advantage and be in balance.
  8. Roots clasping a rock must really adhere and not just be wrapped around, or lopsided.
  9. Stones, moss and other additions to the planting must harmonise in size, colour and texture and must look natural, as well as in scale.

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Random Bonsai Tip

Use vinegar and water to remove moss but it is not as effective as using Limestone Ammonium Nitrate (LAN) and water. Be very careful not to spill any of the LAN on the roots of the bonsai tree as it may burn them and may in the worst case cause the tree to die. Carefully paint the LAN and water mix on the trunk of the bonsai tree and within days you should see the moss turn brown and die.