Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:04 am
Location: Regional Australia

New to Bonsai...looking for some info.

I have always loved the look of Bonsai trees and thought they would be very hard to look after, but the more I have read about them they don't sound that hard to keep.

I have bought a few to kick of my new hobby and was looking for a bit more information. At the moment I have a small Trident maple, Juniper, Port Jackson Fig, Japanese Maple and a Chinese Elm.

What I would like to know is when to prune the maples and Chinese elm to encourage more branches and leaves. In the books that I have read stat that they should be pruned at the first or second node. Are there any sites that have step by step and pics of where and how to prune?

Also, I use Fish Emulsion liquid fertilizer for alot of my other plants, is that ok for Bonsai Trees?

Thanks in advance - Craig.
Japanese Maple - Chinese Elm - Trident Maple - Port Jackson Fig and some king of Pine (not sure what type).

Green Thumb
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:19 pm
Location: Coventry, CT

First off, welcome to the site Craig. Sounds like you have the start of a very nice collection. My recomendation would be to find a local club where you can bring your trees and get dome hands on experience from folks who have been doing this for a while. I'm relatively new to bonsai myself and my club has been wonderful. I bring in a tree and everyone comes over and looks it over, giving adice and showing me where and how to prune or pinch. Hands-on seminars are also lots of fun and a great learning experience. Of course, this forum is full of very helpful folks. Post some pictures of your trees and we'll be glad to talk about the possibilities.

Senior Member
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:40 pm
Location: Brighton, Michigan

Welcome to the forum! So glad you found us.

I agree with Marsman completely. A local club is the absolute best way to get information - and in a hands on manner. Some of our Australian forum members mentioned there are bonsai clubs in numerous areas. I am sure you could find one close to you.

He is also right in that if you would like to post some pictures of your trees, we would be more then happy to give you some ideas on "bringing out the bonsai within." :)

While you are looking for a bonsai club and posting some pictures, here is a great site for working with bonsai:

In particular, he has an article specifically on pinching and training maples:

Looking forward to seeing some of your trees! :)
Rosaelyn @}>---'---,---

If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

User avatar
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


How and when to prune is not an easy thing to tell you on-line especially without pictures. Consider the current state of the trees and where you would like them to be. Let's take the Elm, one of the easier ones to discuss, if you want a tree with a two inch trunk and it currently is only one quarter of an inch in diameter then there is no point in pruning it yet.

The technique you mentioned, prune at the second node, is for trees that have already reached a certain level of development. This keeps the outline in shape and increases the ramification or division of shoots. So you have to decide what you want from each tree and make decisions based of where it is now.

There are also cultural differences between the different trees you mentioned. For instance, I would never try to keep a Juniper inside but it is possible to keep a Ficus inside. Everything I grow goes outside during the summer with the tender species (Ficus for one) being brought inside as the weather cools. Your environment is foreign to me, I know parts of Australia can be very hot at times. Do you keep other potted plants outside?

You can fertilize your bonsai with whatever you use for your other potted plants, nothing exotic about them in that regard. More important than what you use is that you do fertilize regularly while they are in growth.


Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:04 am
Location: Regional Australia

Thanks for the replies.

We do have a local Bonsai Club in town here, only problem is, the meetings are on the same time that I have to work. I will try and get my roster changed.

I will try and get some pics taken tomorrow if I can find my camera.

Thanks again for the replies.
Japanese Maple - Chinese Elm - Trident Maple - Port Jackson Fig and some king of Pine (not sure what type).

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