When first beginning on your bonsai journey the array of available tools, supplies, and equipment can be dizzying. There are literally hundreds of items that can be used in bonsai care, from the bare basics all the way to top-of-the-line extravagant specialty tools. Where to start?
What You Really Need in the Beginning:
- Bonsai scissor: these are an essential basic, and it’s better to go with a high-quality pair of Japanese shears (available at DallasBonsai.com) than a cheap substitute. You will use these for lots of leaf and branch trimming so you want them to last, and not damage your tree.
- Concave cutter: concave pruners are a staple for bonsai owners because they allow branches to be cut away from the trunk without leaving a huge, ugly scar. This tool makes a slightly indented cut that will heal nicely.
- Wire cutter: it’s useful to have the specific set made for the art-form because they have a special rounded head that protects your tree while cutting and removing wire.
- Small plier: you will be doing quite a bit of bending and manipulating wire while training your tree, and a quality pair of pliers will make this job much easier.
Tools That Are Handy to Have:
- Root cutter: specially designed to make pruning roots easier, these cutters have very strong blades that are able to slice through the thick fibers of a hefty root system.
- Root hook: while a chopstick is often used and can be sufficient with smaller bonsai, a root hook is useful when working with a larger tree that has stronger roots.
Japanese watering wand: these have a very fine shower stream, allowing you to water and wash your plant without fear of soil disturbance.
- An assortment of brushes: there are a multitude of brush choices, from nylon to steel and more. These can be helpful in cleaning your bonsai’s trunk, as well as rubbing branches to stimulate growth in desired areas.
- Soil scoops: these come in handy while measuring out various components of your potting mix, and can also filter out dust at the same time.
- Saw: depending on the size of your bonsai, you may need a small saw to cut branches. There are specific Japanese saws made for cutting bonsai.
- Turntable: a turntable makes it smooth and easy to turn your tree as you’re pruning, trimming, and wiring. A luxury item perhaps, but still very useful.
Don’t worry about investing a ton of money right at first – as your bonsai experience grows and evolves you will learn through practice which items will be most beneficial to you.
Like any hobby or art, bonsai growing can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but either way the reward is a beautiful living piece of artwork.