Bonsai Garden Tools

There are two important principles to remember when it comes to bonsai garden tools. The first is that bonsai tools are specialty tools designed for a specific purpose. Using the right bonsai tools for the task can make the bonsai experience a pleasure rather then a chore.

Cutting away the unwanted portions of a tree is crucial to the art of bonsai. The most important tools for this task are shears and pruners. Pruning enables you to shorten a branch or the height of a tree, as well as remove unwanted branches entirely. Shears enable you to thin and defoliate bonsai, but are not meant to cut woody or dead ends of branches.

A basic assortment of bonsai garden tools should include those needed to accomplish basic pruning and shaping tasks, as follows:

  • A pair of concave-cutters
  • A pair of shears
  • A pair of leaf trimmers
  • A bonsai rake
  • A pair of bonsai tweezers
  • A saw
  • A pair of wire-cutters

The single most important tool for bonsai use is a pair of concave-cutters.There is no substitute for them because they are designed to cut branches flush to the trunk, resulting in cut that heals faster and leaves less scarring than if another type of tool were used. Concave-cutters are sold in several sizes, and the most useful to start with is a pair with an overall length of around 8 inches (20 cm), a size that has a medium-sized cutting surface, making it a good choice for most cuts.

Shears are the basic tools used for bud-trimming, thinning foliage, and defoliation, all of which are crucial components of the art of bonsai. Although many sizes and shapes of shears are available, you will find two sufficient to start with. Bud-trimming shears have a generous opening between the handles, which helps to prevent you from injuring other buds as you are pruning your target ones. A pair of 8 inches (20 cm) shears with 2 inches (5 cm) blades is a good, basic tool for thinning and defoliating bonsai.

Leaf-trimmers, also known as defoliating shears, are the preferred tool for removing unwanted leaves and buds because they enable the fast and precise removal of foliage.

Rakes and tweezers are also useful tools to include in your basic bonsai tool set. Rakes are used for working the soil during the transplanting process, to remove soil from around the bonsai’s roots as well as to stir up the soil as part of yours bonsai’s general care.

A saw is a must for most root-pruning. The advantages of using a saw instead of shears are two-fold. First, using bonsai shears with which to cut into a root ball would damage their fine cutting edges. Second, if you use a saw that cuts on the pull strokes it prevents the blade from bending, reduces binding, and improves the smoothness of the cut.

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