There are many things about the Art of Bonsai that I believe may be safely considered of interest to everyone. I thought that may be a good way to get this site kicked off to a good start in the right direction. I am never at a loss for words when ask a question or have an opportunity to talk about the subject of bonsai but to get my first post entered and published has been somewhat of a challenge for me.
One thing I find amazing about the subject is that every time I find myself in the company of Bonsai enthusiast there are always those who are willing to share their experiences with me. To this I will be forever grateful, since that is what has helped the survival of so many trees for me over the past few decades.
Adding Age to a Bonsai
The most interesting bonsai technique, in my opinion, is the appearance of age. This technique, as many others in our world of bonsai, was originated or developed in Japan. When applied correctly, it is possible to give a tree a look of great age. A tree may be only 10 years old yet may appear to be over 100 year old.
There are 4 commonly practiced techniques that will ad age to a bonsai:
Nebari – The promotion and development of wide surface roots is called nebari. You may notice many trees growing in the wild that have a wide root base near and around the trunk. This is only acquired in nature over much time and may reproduced by applying bonsai techniques over a short period of time.
Jinning – Recreating the look of natural damage is called jinning. Broken branches and limb die back are caused by natural disasters and storms. This may be easily replicated by purposely cutting or breaking a few branchs back and away from the trunk allowing them to die back thus giving the appearance of storm damage.
Shari – Often you will spot a very old tree that has survived over the years with much of its bark missing leaving the exposed wood underneath to dry out and harden. This is duplicated by outlining an area of bark to be removed and carefully cutting thru the bark without going too deeply into the trunk itself. The area outlined may then be peeled off thus baring the trunk. A good quality cut paste should be applied over the exposed wood to prevent rot while it is allowed to dry out.
Carving – This is probably the most common method used to create the image of age. Tools like chisels, grinders, saws and assorted cutters are used to cut and grind away on the trunk leaving the appearence of tramatic natural damage to the tree that may only happen over a large span of time.
With any of the above discussed techniques it is possible to easily add the look of 100 years to a bonsai in one afternoon of creative thinking.