bonsai tree care

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Last Saturday, Daisaku Nomoto responded to questions through Ask Me Anything (AMA) to Question Bonsai Tonight. Jeremiah Lee and I talked through with Nomoto questions along the way and their responses were recorded.

While many of the answers are concise published, some of the questions generated some discussion. In an effort to express more than Nomoto transmitted – and make the most idiomatic English – I have provided an expanded version of the AMA below. For those curious to hear the almost literal answers, see the original post.

A big thanks to all who participated! We had fun and we hope Nomoto responses were useful, or at least entertaining. Over AMA are planned for the future -. Stay tuned

Q: Please direct irrigation of black pine. How much to allow the soil to dry? How often irrigation in different seasons? Always fill the pot or sometimes just a light shower? still I do not understand.

I have a chop bamboo stick in each pot. To check extract their moisture from top to bottom of the pot. How to dry, and I know that is hard to describe, there must be something before showering and not overwatering causes root rot.

Where I live can have two weeks where it rains every day in the spring. I have my pine and juniper trees on a bench with a roof of clear plastic on it, so I have to deal with the flood of trees every day during rainy weather. I can control the amount of water they receive.

Any help would be appreciated with adequate irrigation.
– Mac

A: Bonsai develop roots in search of water. If a tree is standing in the water, there is less incentive for plants to develop roots. In addition, the roots need air as much as they need water. The goal when watering bonsai is to achieve a balance between wet and dry. Some varieties like more water than others. The weather and soil have a huge effect on irrigation needs bonsai as well.

In summer, the trees might need to water several times a day, but in winter the trees only need to water once every two days. As summers are hot Miyazaki, Nomoto often tarnishes their trees at night to cool.

When watering, apply a lot of water. If it is hot and just add a little water to the pot, the water will be heated. If the boat is flooded and applies enough water to run through the drainage holes, water can cool the roots.

Q: I have two questions about Japanese white pine. First I live in central Texas, USA (Zone 8b) so my luck with the Japanese white pine is not very good so far. We intense sun and potentially 37+ days Celsius. I also believe that our winters are probably too soft, as well as a total of perhaps 4 to 5 nights a year can be below zero. Anyway, my first question and possibly too general is that if I wanted to have the best chance of white pine with what is most important? afternoon shade, very dry and porous soil, etc? Or is it really not worth it? My second question is in terms of white pine Black pine grafts values: the graft is better placed closer to the ground or just below the first branch for best concealment? Thanks for your time!
– Dustin

A: Nomoto states that do not have direct experience with the climate of Texas, but noted that Miyazaki is also hot in summer, with relatively mild winters and white pines grow well there. white pines are tall trees of the mountain and as cool and dry. shade cloth is used in summer, but the water – until water comes out of the drainage holes – no more than once a day. Use particles slightly larger for white pine as larger particles provide more air to the roots soil.

When the graft white pine, the lower the graft line better.

Q: What was working with Boon when he was both apprenticed to Mr. Kamiya
– Jeremiah

It was a little difficult because Boon is not Japanese, but he is intelligent so it was not a problem. Boon was the junior apprentice, so it was a very hard job for him.

Daisaku Nomoto at a recent workshop

Daisaku Nomoto leading a recent workshop BIB

Q: What does oyakata for you? (Oyakata is the phrase that learners use to meet the person with whom apprentice. Literally “the way of the parents,” which often translates to “master” or “boss”.)
– Jeremiah

a: Oyakata is king, while the learner is more than a slave. Apprentices may want alcohol or other women, but if that does not fit the plan oyakata, which usually does not happen.

Nomoto notes that while oyakata is king, he was also like a second father. Nomoto Kamiya loved as a father, who made him want to study more. If he did not like Nomoto oyakata would have run straight home.

Over the years, Kamiya won many awards Kokufu, and two Sakufu awards.

Read also:   It's time to feed the pines

Q: What soil mixture or mixtures How is used
– Jeremiah

A: Nomoto uses clay Rey – Mix coniferous and deciduous conifer mix deciduous trees. He adds 5% charcoal for all trees except for red and white pines. For the weak trees, which uses more yamazuma, a similar decomposed granite which provides better drainage particle.

Q: What are your favorite species of trees to bonsai in Japan

What native species you have worked in the US? And what are your thoughts on them (the good, the bad, the ugly)?
– Dan

A:. Nomoto likes of black pine and juniper

In the US, the native species in which California has worked include juniper, Sierra juniper, western juniper and ponderosa pine. He likes the western juniper, but meets the very sticky foliage. California Junipers says the foliage is very thick. It is as if the foliage of Japanese junipers is lighter so that the branches grow up and need to be connected down while juniper California foliage is heavy and is wired as naturally hangs down. He worked in the ponderosa pine time and notes that it is difficult to make the compact foliage.

If we send junipers United States in Japan is believed to be better for grafting Itoigawa foliage but recommended to keep the native foliage in junipers, as it is important to preserve the natural character of a tree.

Q: Do you have any professional advice for the development of Japanese white beech (Fagus crenata)
– Paul

R: when the buds open in the spring, new shoots are stretched. Cut these in half since this reduces the size of internodes. It is not like the strong sun, so use shade cloth.

Q: I also had a more general question for the purposes of bonsai disclosure: What would advocate as a good five-year plan for a beginner to develop their interest and skills in bonsai, assuming that they are limited to perhaps 12 trees, plus 5 points on the ground? I’m not necessarily asking their favorite species or shortcuts to a large tree, more like the best goals / steps for a beginner or a child in the first five years, able to maintain their interest and help them develop as bonsai artist.
– Benjamin

A :. Nomoto has not visited the east coast so you are not familiar with local trees there

About 20% of bonsai in your nursery are collected. These are the black pine, juniper and only Shimpaku needle.

When it comes to learning bonsai, the most important thing is watering. Thereafter, asphalt. Wiring is a little lower -. Which is much less important than watering or cutting

is very important to find a good teacher – find Boon

Kamiya Nomoto taught to talk to their trees: Hello. How are you? Do you want water? Want pesticide? Want fertilizer? Because trees can not answer, you need to learn how to get answers to these questions through knowledge of one of the trees as well.

Q: Why is apparently so rare to see Larix bonsai (Karamatsu) in Japan? It is the weather? Availability of raw materials? Or something else, maybe?
– Aaron

A: Larix was popular long ago, but it is not popular now. Nomoto has no so it has no additional information on the subject.

Q: The younger generation does not seem very interested in bonsai or ceramics as previous generations. Where the future growth of bonsai in Japan is support from artists like you?

If the market is down by great trees and pottery are buying these great works? International markets?
– Rory

A: There are not many young customers bonsai in Japan, but many of the customers are young Nomoto. There used to be younger customers bonsai but that has changed as people have many alternatives as pachinko, golf, shopping, hiking, movies, etc. It may also be that younger professionals have clients younger and older professionals have older customers.

Many international buyers from China, Korea, Taiwan and Europe.

Q: I bought a black pine last fall. It is in very old compact soil does not absorb water properly (must be immersed in water for more than 10 minutes to moisten the entire root ball) and takes a long time to dry.

The tree is not strong, barely inner growth, but at least has good buds. The previous owner did not decandle last year.

How to proceed in the rehabilitation of a tree in this situation?
– Aaron

R: It is important to remove all soil age, but not all at once. First half bare root of the root ball during the next transplant. When it arrives next time to repot, maybe 1-3 years later, following the other half naked. Be careful not to over-watering when the soil is poor because the roots can become waterlogged.

Q: Can you explain your schedule fertilization
advise people to start with larger sample size before branching in the category shohin? If so, what are the important aspects one should focus on?
What is the key to developing and maintaining good bonsai shohin?
Do / should advocate from seeds or cuttings, plus specimen that are ready to be worked on? If so, what it is in your opinion the value added in this type of project?
Can you elaborate on the use of wound sealant. Do you use it in all beams cuts (deciduous trees)? Are there situations that do not use wound sealant?
As for the nursery, does apprentices from the west? If so, how do you end up in the nursery? How it is done to detect their potential, no more weight or stick to your will / desire to learn?
– Stefan

A: Nomoto fertilizers and coniferous trees with leaves throughout the year, but only a little in winter. deciduous trees are not fertilized in winter.

Read also:   Spring Growth Management!

Okay to start either with large bonsai or shohin trees, but larger trees could provide more learning opportunities as shohin style is quite simple, while more design flexibility and more techniques are into play with the larger trees. Because shohin bonsai are so compact, working on them is difficult.

Nomoto is currently director of a group shohin bonsai in Japan. Screen is very important in shohin bonsai. The first branch should be very low.

Growing bonsai from seeds is important. Bonsai begins from seeds in nature. If we do bonsai from seed now, where bonsai come from 100 or 200 years? In addition, growing trees from seed is great for young customers who do not always have as much money as older customers who may be able to buy bonsai.

Nomoto always use cutting paste to seal wounds.

He has apprentices but want. Since there are very few famous trees in his garden, he recommends studying in a larger for people who want to work in the most famous tree nursery.

Q: In my collection I have a Japanese maple aged 30-40 years. good Nebari, size and movement of the trunk, main branches …… ..smaller and development branch of the finest necessary. When is the best time of the growing season to do the following:
1] Major pruning [greater than 1 cm]
2] Minor pruning
3] Pinching New Growth
4] The partial defoliation
– D / D

a: spring is best for large cuts of maple as the wounds heal faster when the tree is growing rapidly. For small cuts when the tree has leaves it is fine, at any time.

To keep small entrenudos, pry apart new leaves before they fully extend and pluck spring session in the middle leaving only the first two leaves.

style Nomoto for partial defoliation: in May, removes a sheet of each pair and cut the other half. He leaves her weak areas.

Q: Are there texts in English that you highly recommend for an enthusiastic bonsai enthusiasts

In your opinion, what is the best brand of tools ?

I am young and I have plans for long-term growth of most of my issues, has long-term style appearance of the samples any tips or techniques for planning?

Finally, do you think it is possible for someone with no formal training to achieve the necessary nature to help create outstanding bonsai skills?
– Ryan

A: Nomoto read Kinbon (Kindai Bonsai) and Bonsai Sekai (World Bonsai) only this comment on the texts of the English language


many brands of tools is used, but perhaps 80% of them are Yoshimitsu.

To make good trees, Nomoto recommends finding a good bonsai friend and study together. If there are no good teachers are available, making good trees it is difficult. Have good teachers good bonsai and bonsai friend is important. Nomoto bonsai friends include Masahiro Sasaki and Taiga Urushibata.

Q: Thanks for all the information you have taken the time to respond to the measure. I would like to ask about 2 species.

First Silverberry, do you defoliate entire tree never, or only sheet cutting large sheets? How to reduce the size of the sheet?

Second Gardenia is evergreen dwarf in my climate. The leaves of this species are lost to give a rest period or let their leaves and cut sheets remain like silverberry?


R: To silverberry, remove the large leaves whenever you see them. Nomoto removes them through the year, when close to him, talk on the phone, etc. all leaves in February is removed. Keep large leaves in check reduces the size of the sheet.

To gardenia, Nomoto removes leaves 4 times a year, the court in May, June, July and August. The tree keeps its leaves in the winter.

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