How to create a Bonsai forest / group planting
In Japanese: Yose-ue
Although Bonsai are often planted solitary, trees in nature are more commonly found in groups. Creating a Bonsai forest (or group planting) requires an odd number of trees (that is, in case only a few trees are used, to provide asymmetry), usually belonging to the same botanical family.
How to create a Bonsai forest planting
The spring season is the best time of year to create a group planting.
First of all suitable trees need to be selected; a group planting should consist of different sizes of trees, a few tall ones for in the middle and several smaller ones to plant on the sides. Use trees mostly growing upright, as the composition could look unnatural when using different shapes of trees. How many trees to use in total is up to you.
Selecting the right Bonsai pot is very important; choose a large and quite shallow pot and take into account the normal guideline for deciding on color etc.
Use a soil mixture of akadama, fine gravel and potting compost mixed together in a ratio of ½ to ¼ to ¼ (read the Bonsai soil article for more detailed information on soil mixtures for different species of trees, climates, etc.).
After having selected the trees and the pot, follow the step-by-step plan to create the group planting:
- Cut several pieces of copper wire (about 10 cm or 4’’ long) and attach these to the pot using the drainage holes or with waterproof glue. The wires will be used to anchor the roots and stabilize the composition of trees.
- To provide for a good drainage, fill the bottom layer of the pot with fine gravel and akadama in a ratio of ½ to ½.
- Now prepare the trees by removing any dead branches and removing the lower branches to create a trunk (till about 1/3 of the tree’s height). Take the trees out of their pots and after having removed the soil, carefully disentangle the roots.
- Place the taller trees somewhat out of the middle in the pot (see photo 1, below) and add smaller trees around them, when you are satisfied with the composition of the group planting (see photo 2, below), carefully use the copper wires to anchor the trees.
- Use the prepared soil mixture to fill the pot and cover all the roots (see photo 3, below).
- Water thoroughly and then use some moss to cover the surface, to prevent erosion.
And then? Aftercare
Place the newly formed Bonsai group planting in the shade for at least a few months and wait with training the trees until the next spring.
Go to the training forum.