The Right Tools For The Job.
My Father Has a Saying; “The difference between doing a job like an amateur, and doing a job like a professional is having the right tools!”
This is certainly true when it comes to bonsai, so investing a little on the essential bonsai tools will allow you to get a much better result when pruning and shaping your bonsai tree.
- Using inferior tools like general scissors or garden secateurs can damage and permanently scar your tree, or worse.
- Tools should be kept sharp to make clean cuts and not compress the bark when removing branches and foliage.
- Tools should be regularly cleaned and sterilised to avoid transferring disease from tree to tree.
Although there are many tools available in a variety of sizes and quality, when it comes to bonsai tools, I believe you get what you pay for! Spending a little more for better quality tools will usually guarantee longer lasting, reliable tools.
The Essential Bonsai Tools for a Beginner
Used for pruning foliage and small branches. To make accurate clean cuts, you need to keep your scissors sharp and clean, your scissors need to cut cleanly rather than “crush” the stem or branch that you are attempting to trim.
Note: Trying to remove heavier branches with your scissors will cause them to become blunt quickly, and may cause them to bend out of shape (I learned this the hard way!), use your concave cutters whenever possible for these tasks.
Concave or Branch Cutters
Used for removing branches or larger pruning jobs. These Specially designed cutters can remove a branch close to the trunk of the tree leaving a concave cut (an inward curve), which will allow the scar to heal flush (level) with the surrounding bark, rather than leaving a stub, which will heal over leaving a lump or unsightly scar. Note: Do not use concave cutters to cut wire from your tree as this can damage edge of the tool (I also found this out the hard way!)
Used for cutting wire to length as well as for removing wire from your tree once the limb has set, or before wire begins to cut into your tree.
Note: Trying to unwind the wire from the branch or trunk may cause damage to the bark or breaking of the branch. (Okay, yes I did this to!) Removing the wire by carefully using your wire cutters is a much safer option. As mentioned before do not use any other tools for this job as it will damage them.
The root rake is used to gently rake out the soil and tease the roots before root pruning, or potting into your bonsai container. A good root rake will have rounded edges to avoid damaging the delicate roots of you tree and minimizing the stress you put on your tree at re-potting time. Note: Most kits will come with the above essential tools and are usually cheaper to purchase than individual tools, just be careful of the quality!
Complete Tool Kit
Although you can certainly spend a small fortune on lots of bright shiny tools available on the market, buying only the essential bonsai tools is probably best for a beginner. Each tool has a specific purpose and not having the right tool for the job can sometimes be detrimental to your bonsai and or tool you use as a substitute, in the way of damage to your tree or bending and blunting of your expensive tools. Having the essential bonsai tools on hand makes the job of pruning, shaping and re-potting a lot less stressful to you and your bonsai, and can even speed up the job, especially if you have a large collection.
DO THE JOB LIKE A PROFESSIONAL, NOT AN AMATEUR WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB!