BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Arrangement of Kuromatsu: Winter, season to pinch off buds and do cutting

December 29, 2012

 There is a Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) which is about 80 years old and 42 centimeters in height at Nakanishi Chinshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town. The Moyogi (trunks draw curves in patterns) tree has good Nebari (condition of roots visible out of the surface of dirt). However it has been 3 years since the last adaptation and the overgrown needles make an unrefined impression. So Yoichi Nakanishi, 5th generation owner of this garden, arranges the shape with scissors.

Reshape by Scissors

 He did Mekiri (buds trimming) in the beginning of this July. The needles and the buds grow during the summer. And then trees stop glowing from November so it is the best season to pinch off buds and do the cutting.

 Judging from the general shape, he decided not to adapt the tree by a jack and thick wires. This time he trimmed the buds and the needles by scissors to reshape.

He cuts the buds carefully by scissors at Nakanishi Chinshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town.
He cuts the buds carefully by scissors at Nakanishi Chinshoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town.

 The 3 or 4 buds come out from a part which was cut in the summer. First, pinch off the unnecessary buds and leave a few to be a single layer. This work makes the tree's shape clearly, and the hidden trunk and branches to come up. At the same time, it is better to pick out the old needles and cut all needles shorter. In doing so, all parts of the tree can receive the sunlight and wind. That's the end of the arrangement by scissors.

Worth Appreciating

 After the adaptation, the tree's shape becomes very clear. Nakanishi says, "Trees after these works are worth appreciating as bonsai. In the winter when trees stop growing, I always struggle with a large number of pots to adapt."

Before adaptation (left) and after adaptation
Before adaptation (left) and after adaptation

 It takes only one day to arrange the shape of trees in this size. However trees are growing. So it is necessary to do Hasukashi (thinning out the needles) and Metsumi (pinching out the buds) every year and the arrangement and the adaptation every 3 to 4 years. Bonsai artists make every effort to improve their trees.

  In addition, before exhibitions, they also cut the unnecessary parts, put moss, and change the pot to arrange their tree's shape. Their brilliant ideas create some masterpieces.
(By Shigeo Hano)
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