All about the art of Japanese pruning

All about the art of Japanese pruning

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Japanese pruning can be done on very small trees, such as bonsai trees and on trees in the garden. Also called Niwaki, the art of Japanese pruning has existed since the 12th century. It comes from the Shinto cult, namely "The Way of the Gods" and is transmitted from generation to generation by the Buddhist monks. To learn more about Niwaki and to know all its specificities, we met Jean-Yves who runs bonsai workshops in Truffaut garden centers in the west of France.

What is Niwaki, the art of Japanese pruning?

Niwaki is today the name given to the art of Japanese pruning. However, originally, this word designated the traces that the weather left on the landscape such as wind, rain, snow or cold. The Niwaki also evoked the traces left by animals, young and old, or time. Nowadays, this word has become a generic term that includes all types of Japanese pruning.

There are several types of size? Can you tell us more?

Yes, there are different sizes. If you want to prune your trees in the bush, we speak of karikomi. If they are big bushes, the exact term is kokarikomi and for small bushes it is okarikomi. It is possible to make sizes in steps, stairs, dome or in clouds. You can represent plants from distant lands such as baobab, etc. The possibilities are very numerous with the Japanese size, you have to be informed but also let your imagination speak. This is why it is an art!

What does Niwaki represent?

Niwaki represents nature. Thanks to him, we draw hills, trees or clouds. Nature comes to life on a tree. It is an invitation to travel in very unusual Asia!

Can Japanese pruning be carried out on all trees?

No, it must be done on trees that have matter. It is difficult to indulge in the art of Niwaki on a poplar or weeping willow, because one cannot play on forms. On the other hand, the art of Japanese pruning is not limited to bonsai. It is practiced on trees in the garden, even the largest.

What equipment is needed to practice the art of Japanese pruning?

The necessary tools are needed to cut branches of various sizes. If you have bonsai trees, you will need to have specific scissors that you will choose according to the type of trees you have. Outside, gardening tools are enough. You need a pruner and a branch cutter. Make sure you have a ladder for the tallest trees and be very careful about your safety.