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Redwood Bonsai

Helpful Tips To Care For A Redwood Bonsai

The Redwood bonsai is one of the more popular bonsai tree variates available.  It is part of the Dawn Redwood family, originating in Manchuria, China.  For awhile, it was thought to be extinct but then reappeared in the 1940s.  Today they are found freely growing in forests in the United States since they were originally introduced in 1948.

The original Dawn Redwood bonsai has foliage that is lace-like, offering a striking display in the fall when their leaves turn from green to yellow to bronze before shedding.  You can expect quite a lengthy winter dormant period from your tree as it requires this rest time to grow properly.  It also needs a great deal of patience to be properly trained.

Someone who has had extensive bonsai experience is the best candidate for a Redwood bonsai.  However, if you are a beginner and you are dedicated to giving your tree the proper care it needs than you may have a rewarding experience with one as well.

Proper Care

If you are up for the challenge of a Redwood bonsai then you need to familiarize yourself with proper care techniques.  There are a few essential tools that every bonsai collector needs to have such as shears, pruning clippers and wire.  The wire is what you will be using to hold branches where you want them for training purposes.  You can pick these supplies up at either a gardening store or a specialty online bonsai store.

Your Redwood bonsai will need to be watered pretty much everyday.  Especially in the beginning while the plant is starting to grow.  You never want the soil to be dry.  If you look at it and it appears lighter than normal or somewhat sandy, that is a good indication that it is far too dry.

The Redwood bonsai also appreciates plenty of fertilizer if you want it to really thrive.  Your local gardening center or nursery will carry a special fertilizer that is specifically designed for the bonsai varieties.  Always mix these with a bit of water to dilute so that you do not over feed the tree.  Remember, you can always add more but you can not take away.  You will want to feed your tree once a week during the growing season and about every other week through the fall.  Once winter arrives, your bonsai goes into a dormant period and should never be fed.


Every spring, whether your Redwood bonsai is planted outside or in a container indoors, it needs to be removed from the soil to rim the roots back to about the size of your fist.  They grow back aggressively and quickly so this is needed before they hit their growing season.  It is also easiest to trim the tops into a compact, triangular shape at this time as this will promote denser branching.

A little trick that you may find handy is to take a three inch strip of slate and wire under the roots.  This allows you to spread out the roots horizontally prior to potting in the spring to force them to grow outward.

It is important that you know the branches of the Redwood bonsai grow extremely fast so whether you feel like it or not you will have to constantly cut away the largest branches or else they will quickly throw off the proportion of the tree.  Do not be afraid to cut these trees, you will be surprised at their growth rate in the summer.

You also should be aware that you need to top your Redwood bonsai every year.  However, instead of making a vertical cut and wiring the lower branch, you may want to try cutting above the opposite bud, since they bud opposite, and then cut off that back bud and just allow the front one to grow.  This will usually cause less scarring and a smoother growth pattern.


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