In the previous section (Bonsai styling) we investigated the basic techniques to style and shape Bonsai trees. Now let's look into a few more advanced topics.

Matt Reel styling a tree

Topics included in this section are defoliation, creating deadwood parts on a tree, working on the surface roots and trunk of a Bonsai and guides to create a Bonsai forest or rock planting. Let's get started.

Bonsai defoliation involves cutting all the leaves of a tree during the summer. In doing so you force the tree to grow new leaves, leading to a reduction in the size of leaves and an increase in ramification.

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Creating deadwood on Bonsai, in the form of Jin or Shari, can enhance the tree's character significantly. A "Jin" is a bare-stripped part of branch and a "Shari" is a barkless part of trunk.

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In Japanese: Nebari - A very important aspect of a Bonsai is its Nebari (or: root-flare), the surface roots that provide visual balance to a tree. Creating a Nebari can be done using two methods; by regularly pruning the downward growing roots or by applying a propagation technique; air layering. Both methods will be described in detail below.

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The trunk of a Bonsai deserves specific attention, as it is one of the most eye-catching features of a tree. The following features will be discussed: The Nebari, tapering, thickness and overall shape of the trunk.

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In Japanese: Seki-joju / Ishisuki - The sight of trees growing in or on rocks can be quite dramatic, as these trees have to struggle to find nutrients in a harsh environment. With Bonsai this kind of landscapes can be imitated, often using pine trees. This guide will describe in detail how to create a rock planting.

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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.

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Using wire, both aluminum and copper, for Bonsai art design is a relatively recent practice, dating from the 20th century.

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