Tonight the session was focused on discussing those trees that club members have no idea how to style or were in need of advice on, as everyone has had one of those bonsai trees at some stage in their bonsai hobby. It was a good evening with lots of discussion on a wide variety of species with ideas coming from many club members. The evening started off with a chat from our Chairman Paul who then introduced the topic and the discussion commenced.

Hinoki cypress

This Hinoki or Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) was a very old tree that has yet to be styled or maintained as a bonsai. It had three larger trunks and a fourth smaller trunk forming a clump style with a very graceful outline and impressive stature. The health of the tree was excellent with good extension growth at the tips and the discussion focused on the various steps to follow to slowly over time develop it into a styled bonsai. One of the main ones was to assess the roots during the winter and look to repot it into a larger but still deep training pot to enable the root flare to develop further as it was currently in a round upright deep pot. There is a post from 2010 on our website for more information on the Hinoki cypress from our workshop.


This was a young developing Box (Buxus sempervirens) and the discussion focused on growth and development as well as changing the pot for a larger training pot to aid its development as well as address any root issues first.


This was a young developing English Oak (Quercus robur) and there was a lot of advice given around its further growth and development and styling.

Scots pine

This was a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) that had been slightly neglected and was in need of a re-pot in addition to styling. It had two opposing lower branches that could be incorporated into a new design as these were vigorous and healthy. It had previously had the main central leader removed and the replacement had not been sufficiently wired or styled into place to develop the apex. There was an active discussion over options for redesigning it as well as advice on repotting it as the current pot was considered too small to allow it to develop further. It also has a new owner as the current owner generously gave it to another club member for them to take on to the next stage of its development.

Mountain pine

This dwarf mountain pine or mugo pine (Pinus mugo) was causing some deliberation over the future style due to having a very straight branch out to one side that had a knuckle forming where multiple branches came out. The view was to change the angle of the tree within the pot and consider the ultimate size of bonsai to be designed out of the material. A small compact tree was an option for removing the very straight branch and a piece of cloth was used to try to show what this may look like if the larger branch was removed. The advice was also to assess the roots first though before making any design choices to ensure that the design followed through from the nebari right up through the trunk line.


This Cedar (Cedrus spp.) was struggling slightly with health with low vigour, dieback and chlorotic foliage in part due to the previous stem splitting and also due to the small pot, constricted roots and overly wet soil. One whole side of the split stem had now died but this in its own way told a story and could be incorporated into a new design. The advice was to re-pot and put it into a training pot to get health and vigour back into the live section and use SP Plant Invigorator to aid its recovery as well as a more free draining mix with pumice. Future design options included changing the position, forming a raft and even considering a piece of driftwood or a slate slab as a future pot.


This was a small Juniper (Juniperus spp.) with two opposing branches and no clear direction of a front or style. It was a healthy small tree and advice ranged from considering removing one of the branches and focusing a design around a semi-cascade potentially and changing the pot and potting angle for this.


The story behind this Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) was that it was bought around 4 years ago at the Bonsai Boot Sale at Staverton for £5 which was a bargain. The focus up until now has been to improve the overall health and vigour of the tree and now this has been achieved the next step is to consider a future style. There are potentially two trees within the one pot so there is an option to separate the two out into separate pots or work on a combined image and include more cuttings to form a clump or forest. There was one main chunky trunk which could be pruned back to and develop a very small but strong image as well so lots of options and more will be known once it has been repotted to assess the roots first and connection of the two trunks.


This was a Firethorn (Pyracantha rosaceae) and the original idea was a mother and child design. The discussion went through the options of pruning to create a more compact form and also the positioning of the second tree slightly closer to the main larger one if that was the final design image and advice on the assessment of the roots first to see what condition they were in as well as the connection between the two trunks. For more information on this species visit an earlier post on Pyracantha rosaceae.

Japanese maple

This Japanese maple (Acer palmatum spp.) is now ready for the planning stage of the future design. It has been allowed to grow unchecked this year to aid with improving the overall crown vigour after being heavily reduced back to a core branching structure back to a primary node on each main branch. The regrowth has been very good with long healthy extensions. The root structure is impressive with a thick trunk and huge potential to improve over time with future root work during repotting.

Lodgepole Pine

Pests and diseases are something everyone who has bonsai regularly looks out for and this Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) had some bark damage to the branches which is being caused potentially by the Large Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis). There was a discussion on how to treat the issue as the larvae will feed on the roots, while the adult beetles feed on the bark of young branches.

Pine seedlings

The next steps of developing a Pine seedling were being discussed here and a great source of information on pine development comes from Jonas Dupuich of Bonsai Tonight who writes an excellent blog that you can subscribe to and follow for the latest updates and information.


The story behind this Elm and its development is amazing, it was first collected in 1974 and has been in the same ownership since then. It has been restyled and developed during this time and more recently underwent a significant restyling with the removal of all the branches back to the main bole around 3 years ago. The resulting regrowth of epicormic was then thinned out to leave 7 which have now thickened and developed a new crown which is now being worked on to improve the overall compact image. The inspiration behind the design of this tree comes from the old veteran trees within Savernake Forest near Marlborough. In addition, a cutting from this original bonsai has been grown as shown in the last picture in the gallery which is also developing well.


Taiwanese and Ginseng Figs (Ficus were brought in for pruning and they are still in the early stages of development and leaf reduction.


The development of a mame Cotoneaster during its pruning.

Lonicera (Honey suckle)

A discussion on what to do next with this honey suckle shrub (Lonicera) was underway during the evening.

Trees being worked on

In addition to the problem tree discussion, many of the club members also bought in some of their bonsai trees to prune and work on as well as discuss. Here is a selection including a White Pine, Rose, Juniper and Quince.

Tree of the month

Details and results to follow in another post but a good number of entries and variety of species tonight.