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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

You can bend thick, hardened branches by undercutting. A wedge is cut underneath where the bend is needed and then the branch is eased down anw wired into place. Thick, coarse branches could also be removed completely and replaced with new branches by thread grafting or approach grafting