Bonsai Trees into a Rolling Boil

What we call a rolling boil and how to get your bonsai trees into one. We try to spend time with all our customers at the nursery when they come to visit. It’s a nice thing to do and it helps people at the beginning of their bonsai Journey to get off to a good start. It’s good for business too! It sounds a little worthy to call this a concept. It’s more of a way of thinking about your bonsai trees. Anyway, enough of that, here’s what we mean by getting your bonsai trees into a rolling boil.

  • We need our bonsai trees to be healthy.
  • Healthy bonsai trees grow faster. This means that we can develop them more quickly.
  • Being able to develop them more quickly means that we can improve the look of them faster.

It’s about getting your trees into a state where they are healthy and grow well. A state where they respond well to pruning by chucking out lots of new growth where we want it to be. You could also call it a virtuous circle of health.

How to get your bonsai trees into a rolling boil

  • Correct feeding
  • Good watering routines
  • Suitable location
  • Timing pruning to maximise health
  • Good repotting schedules
  • Control of pests and diseases
  • An understanding of growth rates, allowing for differences between different species of tree

If, and I appreciate there is quite a bit to the above, if the above is met, your trees should grow strongly. You can then crack on with wiring and styling your trees with confidence. It is this confidence that separates a novice bonsai grower from a more experienced one.

How will you know where your bonsai tree is at?

When new trees arrive at our place, I tend not to do much with them very quickly. I like them to sit on the benches for a couple of months or so. This gives me a chance to observe the trees growing. This is far easier for deciduous trees, which tend to grow more quickly. It can take longer for other trees, a few seasons sometimes. I’m looking for strong growth, fattening buds, healthy white roots and other signs.

What if your bonsai trees are not healthy?

If your trees are not in a healthy State, growth will be weak and slow. Branches may be dying off. Growth may be coarse and haphazard. Foliage may be poor in colour.

Bonsai trees become weak and unhealthy for a number of reasons. My advice is to go back to the list above and try to work out if any aspect is being overlooked.

  • Is this tree in a suitable location? Consider temperate, both hot and cold. Boiling hot summer heat can often be as bad as extreme winter cold. Consider light levels dark or too bright. Think about the wind, which burns foliage and dries trees out.
  • Is the tree getting watered correctly? Is it drying out too much between waterings or is it constantly soaking wet to the point where this is damaging the roots?
  • Is the tree overgrown? Bonsai trees can only support a certain amount of foliage. If they are overgrown, the tree will sacrifice parts of itself in favour of the foliage it prefers. Usually the top and outside edges of the tree.
  • Is the tree receiving at least some fertiliser? Could it be getting too much from overly strong chemical feeds?
  • Are there any pests or diseases attacking the tree?
  • What is the soil like and how are the roots? Bonsai trees will grow in pretty much any soil, though granular soil which drains well and yet holds water gives better results. Is the tree pot-bound? If so, the rootball will look very solid, with little or no space for new roots.

If all of the above has been considered, the problem can often be down to your pruning schedule AND not giving the tree time to recover from your pruning. This is a big topic which warrants another article.


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