Check here for part one click me

This is how we left the tree


I’ve let it grow now for two months and it’s time for a haircut.

I could just do a topiary trim here. Do nothing but trim the silhouette, but then, when I remove the wires and do a serious trimming, I’ll end up where I will be after this trim. And I will lose those months of directed growth and development. We have such a prolonged growing season in Florida that to not take advantage of it is not, well, advantageous…..


Lots of foliage. Looks a little intimidating, doesn’t it? Maybe I need another beer.

This is where a turn table comes in handy. I don’t usually use one but I think it is needed here. I made this one myself. I’m a clever lad, eh?

We begin with a branch like this.

And end here.
Got it?
First we remove theses kind of branches:

Growing down

Under a branch

We clean the underneath to define a branch. In our minds we unconsciously see a tree growing up. And when we see branches growing down it nags the unconscious and ruins the illusion.
Bonsai is the art of illusion. We use tricks to make you see a big/little tree.

Cut the branches growing straight up.
Wait, you say, didn’t you just say branches grow up? I did, but we also have to create the illusion that gravity is pulling the branches down. Snip

At a later point we may keep some of these but not yet. We could wire them horizontally and create a secondary level to the branch. That’s a different stage though.

And trim off the dead branches too.

Remove the branches growing on the inside of curves.

And keep the ones growing on the outside of the curve.
The inside one takes away from the branch line you are trying to create. The outside branch adds to the line. It opens up the design.

Directional pruning is sometimes better than wiring. Cut here.

And the branch will continue in that direction. By using both wire and directional pruning (clip and grow) the tree will be more natural.

That’s better.


The wire is not cutting in yet so I don’t have to remove it. And the new branches are too green to wire, they’ll just break off.

Like this one. It’s even in the right spot. Hot damn!


I cut out a lot but left a lot too.

That’s the right side-before

And after.

There’s the tree before

And after.
It will fill in again before winter and I’ll take the wire off then. And readjust the new branches.
I fertilize now using milorganite. It goes right back onto the bench and grows.
Till next time.

7 thoughts

  1. Agreed – very nice work *and* step-by-step photos. You’re now working with some of my favorites – ilex and buxux. Thanks for giving me some ideas and the courage to commit to “denuding” a perfectly nice plant !!!


  2. Sorry – buxus, not buxux, I’m trying to decide whether I want to continue to contain my old microphyllae as a so-called “normal” mushroom shape, or let some wild leaders *go* and follow their natural growth pattern. Any comments or opinions there? I’m also working with a couple of old semperverins (sp?) that were rescued from a house demo – lot of potential there, too.


    1. Don’t worry, I understood you. I have several Japanese boxwoods (as they call them here in Florida, I’ve seen them as Korean boxwoods other places) which is a buxus microphylla japonica.
      I would have to see the trees to really give advice. I have tree styles and bunjin style. And deadwood is always a nice feature on boxwoods.


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