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Developing Fine Branching on Deciduous Bonsai


This Hornbeam by Mariusz Komsta has appeared on Bonsai Bark in a number of incarnations. Though it does appear even more ramified in later photos (see below), still, this particular stage in its development is a good example of ramification while maintaining an overall sense of proportion. In the photo below, the branching almost overwhelms the trunk, while in this photo, it serves as a perfect counterpoint that emphasizes the trunk's power. Nice choice of pots too.

We're trying to catch up from taking a few days off, so we'll take the easy way out and visit our archives

This post is drawn from three earlier posts. Some of the content is from a post that appeared way back in May of 2010, titled Developing Ramification on Deciduous Bonsai. The exceptions are the photos at the top and bottom of Mariusz Komsta’s magnificent, now famous Hornbeam, both of which also appeared in earlier Bark posts
Continued below...


These illustrations represent a page from Bonsai Today issue 66. It’s the first of three posts on ramification (branching) that we ran back in 2010. Here’s the second and the third.

Continued from above...
Ramification literally means branching or branch development. However, when it comes to the art of bonsai (and especially deciduous bonsai) it has come to mean branch development that displays a couple key features: taper and fine branching. These features are critical when it comes to developing quality deciduous bonsai.

Deciduous trees develop rapidly but they also lose their shape rapidly. In other words, with the application of some precise pruning and pinching, you can create excellent fine branching on deciduous trees in just a few years. But it’s an on going process that requires continued trimming and pinching to maintain.


Pinching back. Notice that is it says the pinching back is done “from the end of March to the end of April.” This may vary, depends upon your climate (the original article is from somewhere around Tokyo, Japan; which is about the same latitude as Charlotte, NC). Here in northern Vermont it’s more like mid May until mid June.


Talk about ramification! Here’s a latter version of Mariusz’s famous Hornbeam. Though I am only guessing, it seems to me that Mariusz is using this tree as an experiment in ramification. 

Here's a link to the original by Mariusz Komsta


 The illustrations above are from Bonsai Today magazine.
Though Bonsai Today is no longer published, we still have
a large selection of back issues on our website. All issues
feature valuable how-to articles with ample illustrations and photos. 
But don't wait, when they are gone, that's it!


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