How to create a good Nebari on Bonsai trees
A very important aspect of a Bonsai is its Nebari (or: root-flare), the surface roots that provide visual balance to a tree. Ideally, the surface roots are visible on all sides of the trunk.
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.
Regular root pruning
By removing large vertically growing roots every time you repot a tree you replace growth to the sideward-growing roots. In doing so, over time these roots will grow thicker and ultimately create a natural looking Bonsai Nebari. Some growers place their trees on a stone when growing young material, to force a tree to grow its roots sidewards. But when repotting regularly, pruning the vertical growing roots should be enough to stimulate the surface roots.
The tourniquet method
This air layering method involves tightly wrapping copper wire around the base of the trunk, partially blocking the stream of nutrients from the roots. When the trunk grows thicker the stream of nutrients will decrease more and more, forcing it to grow new roots just above the wire. Apply a tourniquet during the spring. Read the step by step guide below for detailed information.