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The Importance of Timing with Bonsai Trees

Posted by Nursery Tree Wholesalers on

There are numerous techniques that consistently need to be followed with our wholesale bonsai trees to help ensure their health and vigor for the future. Some techniques are advanced and some are very straightforward, but one thing is important for every technique is knowing when they need to be carried out. This is not an article about specific techniques in particular, but rather an article about the importance of timing - an incredibly important concept that beginners tend for overlook.

All techniques with bonsai trees must be carried out within the correct time frame for them to be successful. If you fail to observe the timing, you could potentially harm your bonsai and will certainly not receive the desired outcome of the technique. For example, if you repot your tree and prune that roots at the incorrect time, you could easily kill the tree.

Cyclical Timing

Every single bonsai tree for sale from our online nursery, and almost every plant in nature for that matter, will follow an cyclical or annual growth pattern. This means that over the course of a year, the tree will progress through several stages that will be repeated again the following year. Most of these annual growth patterns are directly related to the sun, season, and weather of the area that you are living. Note: this does not directly apply to indoor bonsai trees, as they are not subject to the season changes in the same way that outdoor species are.

All techniques in bonsai have suggested times of the year that they should be performed. Depending on what the technique is, the acceptable timing could range from 3 or 4 months, to as little as having a 2 weeks window. Because of this, we recommend that you always follow the recommended time frames given for the specific technique you are doing. Never attempt to perform “ill-timed” work on your tree with the hope that it will be OK. It could damage your tree severely.

Should You Just Follow The Calendar?

No, it is important to not tie techniques, such as repotting, pruning, or wiring, to a specific calendar date. The precise timing actually depends on your local climate, the species of the tree, and the health of the individual tree you are working with. For example, it is not uncommon to have two species of the same tree in same area of the garden that require repotting up to a month apart! So instead of focusing on a calendar date, focus on the individual tree. Repotting of a deciduous tree should be done just as the new shoots start to length, not because you read in a book that it needs to be done in March. It depends! Bonsai books will often give an exact date in attempt to simplify things for you, but if you always follow a specific date, it could damage your bonsai. Look for signals that your trees will give you when they are ready.

Healing Time

Bonsai trees for sale from our wholesale nursery need time to heal after work is carried out on them. When you perform any kind of work on a tree, it stresses them out and temporarily weakens them during the recovery period. Therefore, if you perform additional work when the tree is already stressed, you could send the bonsai into a state that it is unable to recover from. For example, if you choose to defoliate your bonsai (removing the leaves at midsummer) before the tree has fully recovered from the root pruning in the Spring, it could have a deadly effect on the tree. Either technique can be carried out with great success on their own, but if not enough healing time is given, you could be in trouble!

Again, as in most areas, this is a rather common mistake among beginners. The time a tree needs to heal is largely dependent on the vigor of the individual tree and the nature of the actual work performed. Generally, the more invasive the work, the longer it will take for the tree to heal. 

Since healing time is largely dependent on the health of the actual tree, it is impossible to say something like, “When you perform X on your tree, you need to wait Y days before you do more work.” A positive sign, but not always a sure sign, that you tree has recovered from the previous work is the appearance of new shoots and extensions from the branches. 

Patience, Patience, Patience.....

Picture this - you just bought one of our healthy, online bonsai trees for sale during the end of Spring and you dive in immediately and style it to your own liking through trimming. You seem to be happy with your results and want to do more work right away, so you repot the tree in during the late Summer. The tree is then weakened due to the poor timing and fails to grow for the rest of Summer and into early Autumn. Luckily, it doesn’t die. The next Spring when the tree begins to grow, several of the branches die due to its weakened state and the tree fails to produce new shoots. Almost no growth occurs the following season as the tree recovers from the stress your subjugated it to the previous year.

With just a little patience, all of that could have been avoided. If you had waited until the following Spring to repot your bonsai, at the correct time, your tree would have recovered quickly and resumed growing vigorously. 

*So, do not be hasty with your bonsai tree. Timing is everything. Techniques need to be performed at the correct time of year, proper healing time must be given, and great patience on your part is needed to ensure your tree remains healthy and vigorous for years to come. Good luck!


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