Classroom Corner – Just a bit of pruning…….

An open window into the comings and goings of students and their trees attending our regular weekend and midweek bonsai classes under the ever watchful eyes of John Hanby.
Classroom Corner – Just a bit of pruning……

……can make all the difference! Often we prune for that initial styling, removing a large amount of foliage to find the tree within……which can then be wired and styled.

Sometimes trees have grown really well during the season and have to be thinned out to regain the shape but also to let in light and air to promote good health.

Sometimes its just long extension growth that needs pruning back. A previously styled tree may need pruning before it can be wired and restyled.

The trees pictured below appeared at recent bonsai classes and as you can see they have all benefited and changed as a result of just a little bit of pruning!

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Topical Times – Student Blogger…..Hanby Pruning!

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Student Blogger…..Hanby Pruning!

This article was written by one of my students and it is the first time I have published an article written by a guest blogger! I must confess I do find it hard to relate to the subject matter of this particular blog and hope that my students will be able to enlighten me on future classes.


I recently realised there are 3 types of pruning:
Minimal, Moderate & Hanby

Minimal – a classic example of this is removing mainly foliage & very occasionally a strayIMG_6982 branch to enhance the shape of the bush/tree. Box hedging if maintained regularly will require minimal pruning.

Moderate – again this requires mainly foliage pruning but it may also be necessary to remove several branches at certain times of year. Many garden shrubs/ trees require this type of pruning to keep the gardens appearance appealing.

Hanby – this type of pruning is called Bonsai. Removal of almost all foliage & branches. Hanby pruning requires an expert eye to observe the trunk IMG_6984of the tree/ shrub & removing everything to expose this!!

Hanby pruning ….. Only for the experts!

Topical Times – Euonymus late summer pruning

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – Euonymous late summer pruning

There have been previous blogs relating to this tree and the first picture is a reminder of what this tree was like when we started out together.

The second picture shows the tree on vacation in Belgium in May……well it’s the nearest he will get to a summer holiday this year……both of us in fact!!! Danny Use had kindly invited us to participate in the exhibition with his Kei Bonsai Kai group and the Euonymous was given a tokoname setting.

Since returning home the tree has grown well. He had been thinned out and refined for the exhibition and then allowed a period of growth for recovery.

You can see how strong and bushy he is but now the foliage mass is too dense again. He is in danger of losing his shape. It was time to intervene with scissors, pruning shoots and leaves to recover his appearance…….but also to promote better health by allowing light and air to penetrate the foliage mass.

I hope that visitors to the exhibition in Belgium enjoyed looking at this tree because I certainly get a lot of pleasure looking at him every day!

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Studio Stories – Yamadorii Buxus….a change of direction!

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Yamadorii Buxus….a change of direction!

The time had come to do something with this tree. It is a very old collected tree from France with some characteristic deadwood but this has left a large bulge in the centre and the trunk base below divided in two.

In it’s existing stance and pot it just does not look right. I thinned out the foliage removing all branches and twigs that I thought we could do without. All the remaining branches were wired and you can see in the first pictures that the tree is now ready for styling.

To try and overcome the problems described above I thought about changing the angle of the tree. The separate branch on the opposite side of the bulge could be used to create a lower foliage mass in a half cascade style. Planting the tree at this angle would make more sense of the deadwood bulge and the divided trunk base. It looks more natural for a tree growing like this hanging out off a cliff or over water.

Repotting the tree into the crescent pot continued the theme and again helped to promote a more natural composition. Adding some moss and miniature ferns could really bring this planting to life.

With the branches suitably re-arranged to accommodate the new style, the change of angle, and the new pot I feel much happier about this tree. The tree now has a more positive future where ongoing refinement should lead to the development of a seriously good bonsai.

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