Red Bark on Bonsai Tree: Arborvitae trims down for a Summer tan [Bonsai]

in bonsai •  last month  (edited)


By the time Summer heat sneaks up on us, it can really knock you out.

Fortunately, I knew the heat wave was coming soon, and I've been moving most of my vulnerable bonsai trees into the shade. This tree however, prefers the full sun, and is not shy of harshest beating.

Trees like this evergreen conifer, the Arborvitae, are from the Cedar family. The fence I photographed it in front of might be cedar wood, recognizable by the red wood. This tree has a beautiful copper red bark.

Since the tree has become so bushy with green this year, and will continue to produce thick growth in this way, as is it's habit, I decided it looked healthy enough for a trim.

Any time foliage is removed from a conifer, it robs the tree of it's energy. By trimming in Summer, it gives the tree an opportunity to regrow. Any green foliage, and sometimes the wood itself, newly exposed to sunlight are going to be forced to manufacture new green foliage to slowly replace the areas I have removed.

Historical Information

ID: 0001
Nickname: Ozma
Type: #Arborvitae
Age: 7 or 8 years
Grown: #yamadori (A sprouted cutting from the root where it was growing as a sucker weed)
Last repotting: November 9, 2018
Last wired: July 31, 2019

Newly Trimmed


Trees always take on a more elegant form after a full trim.

In Summer, I only prune off the green parts. Pruning the woody parts would expose the sap to run and quickly drain the tree of life-essential energy. Thankfully this tree already has a nice style, and probably won't need any wood pruning this year.

The first thing we notice is the shape of the trunk and branches. They are curvaceous and upward angled. The heavy weight has been lifted off.

Any time I have green clusters growing off a branch, I like to pick away any nearby competing green shoots, so there is only one shoot growing from a single node. This improves the taper of the branch into the thin shoot, so no abnormal thickened areas form in between.

The stems tend to form wide feathery clusters of multiscaled pieces. I like to shave everything off the main stem so it extends a bit from the branch before allowing it to separate out. This aesthetic allows the viewer to follow the path of the branchlet into the spreading green a bit easier.

Lastly, I trim down the clusters of green needles into smaller size. Instead of large fans the size of my hand, they are minimized to about 1/4 this total size. Given a choice of which parts of the branchlet to favor, I usually pick the ones forming a natural downward or outward angle. Near the top of the tree, I favor fronds that are heading more upward.

On the lowest left branch, the first branchlet was becoming a major eye-poker, a branch that sticks forward from the front view. Not sure how to deal with that forward depth space it creates, other than reduce some it's length and side branchlets. This tree could stand another annual wiring in early Autumn.

Close Up


To trim this much off will weaken the tree and slow down its growth a lot. Personally, I prefer a fast growing tree like this to grow slower. I get better results with natural branch shape that way. Still, it's a lot of stress on the tree, so I'll not be trimming the tree this drastically for another year or so. Maybe just a bit of pinching off suckers that appear in cramped nooks.

This weekend I'll probably give my tree a fresh application of fertilizer to give it an added boost. Nitrogen will invigorate the current growth on the tree to green up, and allow it to better photosynthesize sunlight into energy.

By mid-July or August, we can expect the tree to have built up enough energy to push out some new growth shoots again.

Photos in this post are all #originalworks by @creativetruth, unless stated otherwise.


Thank you @mendezand for this beautiful new logo that was commissioned. This week I'll be opening #teambonsai up as an official Hive Community to help support #bonsai topics.

Find me on discord and chat with other tree growers, bonsai enthusiasts, and gardeners. Seeking mods interested in keeping the new community clean.

No memberships. Love trees. Make friends. Grow together.

#arborvitae #cedar #thuja #evergreen #bonsai-trim #bonsai-pruning


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Ahhh. Bonsai always intrigued me. I even tried growing one of my own. But it died at the age of 6 months due to blazing heat in my area. I would love to have some tips from you about what bonzai species would be suited for my area and how to take care of them.(As when it comes to gardening I am just a rookie).

Curated on behalf of City of Neoxian.

Posted via | The City of Neoxian

My number one tip for beginners is to not pick traditional bonsai species. They can be expensive, and need more perfect growing conditions to match their natural homeland.

Find out which tree species are native to your area, and grow easily where you live. They will not die so easily, and can probably take more punishment as you experiment and learn from experience. For me, I started with Willow.

Afterwards learn about bonsai soil, bonsai pots, and watering. Most potted trees need daily care in Summer, but in the shade they might require less supervision on hot days.

Wooaww it's cool. I like bonsai tree.

  ·  last month (edited)

I think you can cut wedges to the trunk of these Bonsai plants and trees to instantly bend them the way you like or the shape you desire to happen @creativetruth, sort of doing a grafting on fruit trees, I think that it is a good idea. :D

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You're doing a great job, nice tree.

PS: Very nice badge.


Thanks a million.