Sierra Juniper Retrospective 2008-2017


This morning I sat down to wire a fascinating tree. This Sierra Juniper, purchased in 2008, at a REBS bonsai show vendor table has development so much in nine years. I purchased the species as a trial to see if I could grow it where I lived. It was to be a unique species in my collection of junipers along side the Shimpaku, California Juniper, San Jose Junipers, and Procumbins. I loved the bluish delicate foliage.

Bonsai is always a labor of love. You let them grow, periodically re-pot them, feed them, trim, trim, and more trimming. After all that sometimes you forget to look back where it began.

After purchasing the material, I had the opportunity to work with Master Mitsuya from Japan. He looked at the material and expressed it would be an excellent weeping style tree, one of his favorite styles. I was skeptical but he set…

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Things you need to know about your bonsai tree


So the title got you attention so now your expecting a revelation. Well that’s not what this blog will be . I have been doing or should I saying practicing the art of bonsai for about thirteen years now. I must say the first five or so year was disappointing.

Lets start with the basics. All trees in containers aren’t bonsai. There are a few things that differentiates bonsai from pot plants. A bonsai is a piece of art and thought has been put into every aspect of the composition in front of you, from the pot, style of the tree, the placement in the pot as well as the relationship between the pot and the tree. I will try to cover some of these topics in my blogs to come.

For today let’s focus on the basic of taking care of a tree and why we do what we…

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How to repot a bonsai tree.


In my previously I mentioned potting and soil mixture. I will go into more depth on how this is done.

When do you know, it is time for your tree to be repotted? If you have a bonsai tree for more than two years and have never hear of it being repotted, it is most probably time for the tree to be repotted. There are other signs as well. If the tree starts to grow slower than usual, if the colour of the leaves turn light yellow (this may be of draught), if you water the tree and the water stays at on top of the soil for more than 10 seconds, if the roots are visible from the top and you can see large roots that look like they are circling around the inside of the pot. These are all signs that a tree in need of repotting. Please…

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Watering techniques that can help you save water while caring for bonsai.


With the resent water restrictions that we have in the Stellenbosch, my home town in South Africa. We may use 100 liters of water per day per person on the property and you are not allowed to use the municipal water for watering plants or use it outside the house.  I thought it would be a good idea to share the techniques I use to water my bonsai trees. I have used various techniques the past few months to try and save water but keep my trees in a healthy condition.

Sprinkler System

I installed a sprinkler system a few years ago to help water my trees. I had less trees and water restrictions was not in place. I used micro sprinkler heads. I had sprinklers that covered 360 degrees in a 1,2m radius and heads that covered 90 degrees for the trees in the corners.  I placed the heads…

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The difference between bonsai trimming and pruning


I thought I would shed some light on this topic. There are a few techniques when it comes to cutting branches on a bonsai tree. I will first try and explain the best I can the difference between trimming and pruning. After that I will share a few useful tips on pruning.


The first one is trimming. Its like when your beard or hair becomes to long. You simply trim the top off and if it grows out you repeat the process.  The same with bonsai. You never stop cutting back on the new growth. By trimming your bonsai tree regularly you can redirect growth to areas that are weak, you can reduce leave size and get finer ramification. So how does trimming work? As a general rule you cut back to two sets of leaves after every six to eight sets of leave growth on a branch. I…

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