When you buy a bonsai tree for the first time, of course right away you have the responsibility to look after it. However, not everyone will take good care of their new bonsai due to a lack of experience. So, the first step before buying a bonsai is that you must have at least the information, then have you prepared to take the time to care for bonsai which are generally more spoiled than ordinary plants.
If you are in a position to find information about how to care for bonsai, here Names of Trees will summarize it for you. You can read the initial steps for caring for bonsai below.
1. Know the Species of Trees
Before starting to touch your first bonsai tree, knowing its type is mandatory. Determine their species and botanical identity, identify the characteristics of their native habitat, and identify the climate and soil suitable for the tree species.
Once you have all this information, it will be easier to maintain them going forward. However, if you are confused about tree species, don’t worry. There are many social media groups, discussion forums, and tree identification applications that you can use to ask questions and find out what kind of tree you have.
FYI: Tree identification apps like Google Lens and Plant Identification are not recommended for beginners, they can only recognize popular tree types. Their identification system can only be counted on if the image you upload is equipped with a flower or fruit object, and it will be wrong to predict if the image you upload only has a leaf object.
Our advice, if your bonsai does not have flowers or fruit, you should ask the bonsai community on social media groups or online discussion forums. Send pictures as clearly as possible, starting from the top of the leaf, the bottom of the leaf, the petiole, the leaf bud, to the bark of the stem. It would be better if it is accompanied by a description such as the leaves are a bit rough or the leaves have hair. That way, experienced group or forum members can find out what type of tree you are.
2. Know the Trees Origin Habitat
After you know what types of bonsai trees you have, the next step is to find out where the tree’s habitat comes from. Knowing them will make it easier for you to find information about where they come from, from climate, average temperature, hardiness zones, and soil types.
There are many useful websites on Google that you can visit to find out geographic information about an area. When you know this, it will be easy for you to take care of your favorite bonsai, especially the average temperature and the type of soil that affects the health of the tree in the pot.
3. Tree Pruning Time
Every bonsai is pruned and the owner must know when to prune.
Most of the tree species used in bonsai are pruned in early summer or the season when most trees are in good growth. However, not all types of trees can be pruned in the spring, some types of trees should be pruned in the middle of winter or fall.
As we have stated in the first and second steps, knowing the tree species and knowing the habitat the trees come from will help you know when is the right time to do this.
CAUTION: Watch how many twigs and branches you are pruning. In the process of pruning bonsai, beginners often make a fatal mistake that causes the tree to die from over-pruning.
4. Root Trimming and Soil Replacement
Pruning the roots of a bonsai tree and replacing the soil is the most time-consuming thing like tending a twig. However, for a bonsai artist, this is very fun and feels eagerly awaited.
Cutting the roots of the bonsai must be done at the same time as changing the soil every 2-3 years. Tree roots that grow in pots can be partially cut (about 20-50 percent) and rearranged so that they are not dense and choke each other. If you see the roots that have piled up tightly or are choking on each other, remove some of them so that they are loosened or the tree will grow poorly if you do not. Also, prepare the soil to replace the old soil. Bonsai artists usually use ready-made soil imported directly from Japan such as Akadama or Kanuma and mixed with some small rocks such as Pumice, Perlite, or Lava Rock.
Use soil suitable for your tree type. If the soil is suitable, the tree will grow very healthy even in a shallow, small bonsai pot.
5. Fertilization and Daily Care
Fertilizing bonsai is not like fertilizing ornamental trees. There are several methods used by bonsai artists depending on the type of tree (flower, fruit, or leaf). You must know your tree type before applying fertilizer. Make sure the fertilizer dosage is not excessive when using it as bonsai has very little soil. If you fertilize excessively the roots will feel hot and the tree will grow unhealthy.
FYI: To combat fertilizer overdose on bonsai, you can either immerse the pot in a large container until the entire soil is submerged for a few hours or water it from a hose until all of the fertilizer chemistry comes out of the pot.
Daily bonsai watering can be done 1 to 2 times a day depending on the weather. In summer the bonsai usually require more water, they should be watered a minimum of 2 times and a maximum of 4 times a day. In the rainy season, bonsai are generally watered once a day considering that the soil that is always wet is also not good for the health of bonsai.
IMPORTANT: Watering bonsai in summer and during the day should keep the leaves away from water so that the tree is not stressed. Leaves can only be watered in the morning and evening, except for rain which can be tolerated by trees.
Lastly, there are additional tips for those of you who have just had a bonsai. Bonsai trees are common trees that are dwarfed, so their natural characteristics still carry over even if they are grown in a pot. Coniferous trees and most tree species require 8-10 hours of full sun per day for photosynthesis. Meanwhile, a small number of tree species can survive with shade.
Knowing the tree species and their native habitat allows you to know a lot of information needed when maintaining your favorite bonsai.