winter pruning

Autumn arrives at Shibui Bonsai a little earlier than many parts of Australia. Many of my maples have dropped their leaves so I can see the tangled mess of shoots that have grown over summer. In order to make them look good and to make room for new shoots to grow next spring they all need a good hard winter prune.

Trident maple before pruning and thinning



After cutting the twigs that are growing either up or down and all the ones with long internodes the branches look more orderly. I have also removed a couple of branches where they were too close together.

after pruning

3 thoughts on “winter pruning

  1. Hi Neil
    Thanks for the prompt on getting to work on the deciduous trees. I have been holding off a little to allow the trees to get the most out of their retreat into dormancy – but am keen to get going due to the number of trees requiring attention and my slower work rate.
    What is your experience in regard to affect on health and growth by starting winter pruning at the beginning of winter (or as soon as the leaves have dropped) as opposed to waiting until late winter – before buds are expanding.
    Ta …

    • We can prune at any time. The main reason for pruning in winter is we can see the structure clearly without leaves so I’m happy to prune as soon as the leaves have fallen. I am finding that as the trees mature and ramify it takes longer every year to prune and later in winter is pretty busy with re-potting so the earlier I can start the better.
      The only adverse reaction I have noted is with Japanese maples which tend to ‘bleed’ excessively when pruned closer to bud burst in spring so i prefer to prune them earlier. I have found that if a tree does ‘bleed’ a quick root prune will stop it almost immediately.
      I am told that we should not prune cherry or apricots in the orchard during winter because the wounds heal slowly and diseases can invade. I assume that would also apply to bonsai so if i had any cherry or apricot bonsai i would probably prune later or during summer and seal any larger cuts.

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