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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Beginner Bonsai Tools

Plethera Of Bonsai Tools

Tools For The Beginner Bonsai Enthusiast

Getting started with bonsai can be a confusing and daunting process when trying to invest wisely in tools.

There are some nice tools out there and some crossover tools that can be used between different hobbies that can help to defray the initial investment to the bonsai hobbyist before actually committing to really expensive tools.

Cheap Options
Start bonsai from cuttings

The most expensive investment in the bonsai hobby is the plant.  If the groundwork isn't made through much patience and perseverance by starting bonsai from found plants, cuttings and seeds then paying for the bonsai can be quite expensive.  The benefits of starting from seed and cuttings is that the initial plant is very pliable and easily shaped.  There is much more control over the final outcome.

By using found plants, you can cut down time and fear of mistakes by using plants that have established trunks.  For this option, you kind of have to go along with what's there and put on the creative hat for making the best of what you have.

Crossover Tools

Stainless Steel Honey Sieve
For the beekeeper, we can use the honey strainer for screening out the fine silt and soil from the bonsai soil mix as well as screening honey after harvesting comb from the hive.  This tool works wonderfully for honey and should work really well for filtering soil.  Stainless steel is sturdy and easy to clean up.  We know, because we have this and use it.

For the planted tank enthusiast, many of the tools used in
Stainless Steel Aquarium Tools
cultivating and trimming the aquarium plants can also be used for the bonsai plants.  It is also best to invest in stainless steel to prevent crossover contamination between any and all plants.  Stainless steel is easy to clean up and is very durable.  Beginner sets include curved and straight tweezers and scissors - something needed in for aquariums too!  These have been excellent tools for the aquarium and should be fantastic crossovers that I use in my hobbies.

Less Expensive Starter Tools

Carbon Steel Leaf Cutters
Carbon steel are durable, strong starter options for the remaining tools.  We started off getting some leaf cutting tools.  These are springy types of scissors that work well for soft matter trimming.  Not only have these been handy for bonsai, but we use them in the kitchen to separate herbal leaves from the stems to prepare for cooking and drying.  These are great little scissors.

The next investment was to buy something to trim off the
Concave and Knob Clippers
sacrifice branches and unsightly knobs on trees to develop a nice, clean look of the trunk.  The tools for this job include the concave cutter and the knob cutter.  We recently purchased these in anticipation of trimming up Bellatrix, the olive tree.  This is the big job coming up for fall.  Once the deep cuts are made, we will need to help heal the wounds we made.

Root and sod cutter
For below ground maintenance, a great and inexpensive investment is a root and sod cutter.  Trimming the bonsai root mass is of great importance in keeping the bonsai healthy, promoting fine root development and maintaining the desired size.

Bonsai Wound Cut Paste
After abusing the bonsai to make it conform to size and shape desires, we need to let it heal up.  For the trunk and branches, there are many types of bonsai cut paste wound care.  I don't remember which one I have exactly, and some people recommend using vaseline, elmers glue or tar. .. basically anything that will stick and seal.

Using a cut paste is also debatable, depending on what you believe is artistic and interesting in the finished bonsai.  Some like it, some don't.  There is also debate over whether it is really healthy for the bonsai tree to have the wound covered at all.

Pond Baskets For Bonsai Training
Training pots are another consideration.  The price of show bonsai pots can be astronomical.  When getting plants in condition for bonsai training, the plant can be put in the ground when space is allowed, or employing the use of net pots and grow bags in order to allow air pruning, great drainage and air circulation.  Pond baskets can also be used and can be purchased for a small price.  When you get to the point where you have some successful and show type bonsai, you can then invest in a gorgeous bonsai pot that compliments the trained bonsai.

And finally, to manipulate the shape and direction of the growth,wire.
Mixed Set Bonsai Wire
we have the

This is also a recent purchase because Bellatrix will be ready for some bonsai training this fall. We have some jewelry wire around the house, but I'm not sure if I will be using that instead of the bonsai wire as some metals may not be good for some trees.

This concludes the list of bonsai tools we will be keeping in our arsenal as beginning bonsai hobbyists.  Keep an eye out for the bonsai diary updates, where we start from seeds, seedlings and cuttings to start our backyard orchard of edible imperial bonsai trees.

Here is a video putting it all together:

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