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I always thought its bonsais as houseplants that’s a really common misconception originally bonsai were grown in Japan and China and trees were collected in the mountains and brought down to the city for their landscape now I always thought that bonsai were little plants but you have a plan here that’s three or four feet twelve how old is this plant it’s remarkable 75 years old and taken care of for all those years in growing in this container remarkable isn’t it just lots of water and how old is this little one 40 years old in this container just amazing how it was sculpted to look like a wild tree in nature that’s incredible now I know a little bit about trees and there must be at least 20 different species of trees here you have as bonsai at least you can actually grow bonsai out of any type of tree in fact I have lots of trees that can be grown in the house and we’d like to get out of the rain yeah let’s take a look you weren’t kidding when you said you had a lot of different species of bonsai look at this place it’s beautiful there’s a lot to look at you know before World War two Americans didn’t know very much about Japanese culture or bonsai now these look like they do great outside but it gets really cold here we have to bring them inside to bring them in in September and they actually need lots of light and water to take care of them but they’re not that hard to grow well it looked like these would be a little more work than your average house plant well that’s what makes it such a great hobby you need to learn how to wire prune and maintain this tree it’s very therapeutic have you ever grown one I haven’t well let me show you we have a workshop out here so bonsai is the odd of pruning and sculpting trees have you ever seen a tree like this I plant things all the time this is a Japanese white pine how do you turn this into a bonsai like I told you earlier bonsai is a hobby and a nod and so it’s up to the individual artist to create a beautiful trim and so in the pruning process I’m going to teach you how to create a beautiful tree out of this and the first step is actually finding the front and then finding the height the Japanese have given us the rules and now we just need to learn how to apply them a trunk to height ratio is the first step in getting the right proportions and growing a bonsai so what do you want that to be well you actually want it to be believe it or not about six times the height of the trunk but you don’t need to be that technical so these are the tools I use Roger for creating my bonsai this is a concave cutter a bonsai shear a pair of wire cutters and a root rake they’re a lot like the tools I use in landscaping only on a much smaller scale and they’re highly specialized but you can get by quite frankly with just a good pair of shears I’m gonna use my concave cutter to snip it right here take the top right off this tree what do you think of that that’s a pretty drastic cut well you know in your world you’re trying to grow trees to become big landscape trees but in bonsai we’re trying to make a more miniature version of the outdoor natural form so what’s our next step well the next step is finding the branches there’s a first branch that we need to find them that’s usually the lowest and most powerful dominant branch at the bottom of the tree next I pluck the needles off to prepare the tree for wiring and thinning the branches out I start at the top and I work my way down to the bottom branch selection is very important I’ve pruned out some of the smaller branches to simplify the overall effect of the train so now we’ve finished pruning the tree and the next step is bending the branches and for that I use the special wire and it comes in all different gauges all different sizes for different weight branches but I always start with the heaviest wire first and I start at the bottom of the tree and I just plant the wire in to anchor it and then in very neat coils I wrap the wire around the trunk of the tree and this is what’s going to ensure you know solid grip and will allow me to bend the the tree into shape right up to the top I use the lighter gauge wires to bend the smaller branches from the bottom we actually will anchor that and that’s why I’ve cleaned the needles so that it doesn’t damage it and you start with one half and then you come around to this other half here and work right on out to the tips being very careful not to crush any of those buds all right the trees been wired well in my world the sign of a healthy tree is when the branches come out and grow up nice and tall I realize that in in bonsai is the complete opposite because we’re trying to make the look of an ancient tree in nature and think about a tree on top of a mountain that’s been windswept and beaten up by snow and just forced into these somewhat contorted but also very beautiful angle so you see how by bringing the branches down I’m actually mimicking and creating the look of an ancient tree in the Wyatt just holds them right in place it does and the wire stays on for about a year and then you cut the wire off before it cuts in but yes it’s it’s almost like braces on it on on your teeth in that the wire holds the branch in place all right it’s time to repot this plant you’re telling me you’re gonna get that plant in that big pot in this shallow container and I’m gonna do it without damaging the roots and keeping the tree healthy and it’s gonna be beautiful it’s an important part of the whole bonsai process I got to see that Roger this always looks a little bit more aggressive than it actually is but I raked the roots out starting at the bottom and you see how I’m turning as I go and if you notice I haven’t really cut any roots yet I’ve just been knocking the soil out of there so all the roots are very healthy and it’s a much more passive technique that actually looks like the surface roots I have to be a little more careful about I’m raking them out it’s actually a beautiful set of fibrous roots we want to spread these roots out so that they’re all spread flat but again not cut and damaged so that you have a very very healthy root mass and now the tree is ready to be potted so next I prepare the pot and I put the screens in the hole and really that’s no different than a house plant where you put a clay shot in the bottom of the drainage holes to keep the soil from falling out but in bonsai everything is done with you know minimizing space because it’s such a shallow container and this is why that’s gonna hold the screen in place and this is a very important process of keeping the tree secure in the pot so the wire is going to anchor the tree into the pot because the soil we use is very granular and the tree will have a tendency to vibrate out so we have bonsai soil here which is a very free draining coarse mix and we’ve formulated it particularly costs for this pine put it in this in the pot about just a inch along the bottom just to get started and then the positioning of the tree in the pot is usually about 1/3 off to the side and with the apex greeting you almost as if it’s bowing forward the branch off to the side and then we use the wire to actually anchor the tree in the pot so it’s been prepared so that I can tighten up on it give a nice twist to anchor it in the other side gets tightened up the same way and before you do the finishing touch you really want to make sure that you have the front of the tree well positioned well balanced because it’s gonna be in here for at least another three years and so the wire gets cut and the final step is making sure that the new soil gets planted firmly in there so you’re planting the tree as you go and it’s a good time to start thinking about landscaping as well by maybe taking a rock and I plant it in the soil so it looks like it’s been part of the landscape for centuries but as I’m working I’m still planting the soil very carefully to make sure there aren’t any air pockets in the soil I’d like to take the tree and dunk it in a basin of water you see all those bubbles and hang out yep yep that’s it only takes 20 seconds but it’s an opportunity to get all those little root hairs completely saturated but after the first time I just water it with a regular hose and a soft nozzle just so the water penetrates right through the soil are we done now well we can call it done but I think putting moss on the tree is a great way to finish Roger why don’t you put a piece on there get the honors look at that look how beautiful that that Moss and it gets actually don’t be afraid don’t be timid press down plant it make believe it’s it’s a piece of sod nice yeah is everything in bonsai is done in miniature but it’s also done for the neatness of the effect so you really don’t want it to float off you want it to be planted just like a god and hey that looks great I can put you to work here [Music]