A bonsai is a wonderful factory for the production of sugars, which serve both as an energy source and as building blocks to grow new tissues. As in any factory, its production capacity is equal to the production capacity of the least productive element of the assembly line, which is the limiting element. For example, a good root system does not help to produce sugars when the tree has been de foliated and therefore the chlorophyll function is not taking place. Maximum efficiency is achieved when the tree is balanced and all the elements of the chain have a similar production capacity.
In bonsai nutrition there are three fundamental raw materials: the substrate, the irrigation and the fertilization; if we combine them well we will have healthy trees that are resistant to pests as long as we do the necessary work correctly, that depends on the results that are sought.
To illustrate this point I bring you photographs of two Acer Palmatum Shishigashira. The first is a specimen in formation, with a nebari of more than 20 cm that is being cultivated with the immediate objective of closing pruning wounds; branches of almost one meter long have been allowed to grow freely and then will be cut. The second is a more mature tree, of the same species, with an 8 cm nebari and a height of 35 cm, which is regularly cut to the first pair of leaves in order to compact it.
The social isolation that we jointly obligate ourselves to face the cursed Covid19 can have unintended consequences, both in our personal relationships and in our relationship with our trees. Bonsai are dealt more damage by over-attention than by lack of it. When one has more time than trees on hand, there is a temptation to abuse, and repeat the work more often than is convenient for the health of the tree.
There might be some impatient hobbyist, on the lookout for the first pair of leaves to appear in that rickety seedling, which he grows in an pot too small or too big for it. He would ruthlessly cut in the bud new groth throughout the season and transplant every year, surprising that the tree has not developed substantial roots or grown appreciably. The truth is that without an adequate green mass there is no growth, nor can the leaves send phytohormones to form more roots, nor does the tree have the strength and health to resist diseases or parasites.
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