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A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo. A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo.

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by Carole Schwalm A bonsai tree sitting in the sun on a patio outside.

According to Jake Hobson, “nuwaki” is pruning ala bonsai. Both nuwaki and bonsai recreate nature, accenting the shape that already exists within the tree.

Starting at the bottom and working up the branches on the lower tier have been pruned, and as you move up your eye follows the trunk or the “heart” of the tree – to the top. (To show even more of the trunk, and with this picture as an example, you could eliminate the bottom tier of the branches). There are no strict rules, only guidelines.

A well pruned outdoor bonsai tree. The branches are pruned so that one branch is directly on top of the other and across from each other. The tree is well proportioned.

If new shoots appear, let them remain, but they should match the personality of the tree.

Notice how the tree in the picture has been pruned to allow air and light to enter and reach the lower branches. Trees die without light. The air-space should be enough to allow birds to fly through or to imagine they could with bonsai.

Take your time pruning. Start with the biggest branches first, and then wait a week or so to continue. This gives the tree time to recover. Your trees also need less water.

*To be inspired, you only need to visit bonsai sites (there are some wonderful examples on Pinterest (or my favorite book: Indoor Bonsai by Paul Lesniewicz).

Share your bonsai pruning experience or if you'd like more information.