Bonsai is latest agricultural technology where big trees are cultivated in a small tray for visitor's attraction

Production technology of Bonsai 

Bonsai is popular with anyone who is fond of trees. However, the technique of turning the tree into a bonsai is very old. History says that it was introduced in the Han and Tween empires of China 220-221 years before the birth of Christ. But bonsai is a Japanese word. “Bon” means pot and “Sai” means tree. The practice of it in Bangladesh is not very long. Small leafed trees are more suitable for bonsai. It can be grown indoors or outdoors in the garden. Many people in the country are now making bonsai commercially.

 What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is the art of keeping a hard-stemmed tree in a small pot and keeping it alive year after year. It is a living art.

Selection of suitable plant for Bonsai:

Trees suitable for the climate of Bangladesh should be selected for bonsai. Hard pruning is required for it, so hard pruning tolerant trees have to be picked. In addition to all the trees that grow slowly, the trunk of the tree thickens, leaves fall once a year, the bark of the tree thickens when the tree is old, such a tree from the aerial root, aerial root acts as the roots of the tree when the roots are cut. Trees that stay fresh for a long time and survive according to the age of the tree should be selected. Trees that suitable for bonsai making – 

(1) Banyan Tree ;

(2) Ficus ;

(3) Fig tree ;

(4) Z plant ; 

(5) Cycas ;

(6) Bougainvillea ;

(7) Mimusops elengi ;

(8) Desert roses and so on. 

Selection of pot:

Small size pots are required for bonsai. The container must have small holes for drainage. The container can be made of clay, plastic, or porcelain. The weight of the pot should not be so heavy that it can’t move easily.

Preparation of soil:

For a bonsai plant, A pot should be filled with soil that contains 30% loamy soil,  20% clay soil,  vermicompost or organic manure 35%, bone meal, and  5% gravel. If bonsai is a water-loving plant then the amount of clay soil is altered with loamy soil. Soil should be changed two times every year. Because there is no way to get nutrition without soil.

Seedling collection:  

Seedling of Ficus, Fig, and Banyan trees can be collected from old buildings. All the plants can be collected from Nursery or they can be grown from a cutting,  budding, layering, etc. The plants which grow from seed are more suitable for bonsai due to tolerance. 

Planting:

Bonsai should be planted just before monsoon season. Because in monsoon,  the amount of humidity in the air is much higher than any season. so that transpiration loss is less in this season.  

Watering:

It generally depends on the plant species which are selected for bonsai. Water-loving plants like Banyan trees or Ficus grow vigorously when there is an adequate amount of water.  So,  regular watering is needed for them. But drainage must be maintained to remove excess water. Tree species like a desert rose do not require much water. 

Fertilization for Bonsai Plant:  

Bonsai plants should be fertilized with liquid fertilizer or organic pellets. In the summer season, they should fertilize every two weeks and during winter they should fertilize every four weeks. Liquid fertilizer is made by DAP, mustard oil cake, Gypsum, etc in an adequate amount. 

Pruning of bonsai:

Pruning is necessary for the beautiful shape of the tree. Leaf pruning can help to reduce the size of leaves. You can prune back to 2 leaves after 5-67 leaves have grown. If a considerable thickening of the trunk is desired, a bonsai plant can be left to grow freely for one or two years. Trees have a natural tendency to grow with apical dominance.  That means the main, central stem of the plant grows more dominantly than its side stems. By distributing growth to the top and outer edges the tree’s inner and lower branches will eventually retire or grow, while top branches grow out of proportion. pruning techniques to counter the effects of apical dominance by pruning the top and outer portions of a tree more thoroughly. Then the tree redistributes growth to the inner and lower parts from the top and an outer portion. Simply we can prune branches and shoots that have outgrown or apical portion using twig shears for pruning shears. Bonsai trees should have no problem coping with the pruning of up to 1/3 of their canopy. After hard pruning large cuts should be covered with cut paste. 

Wiring:

Wiring and bending thin to medium branches is easy due to their flexibility, but one should check the wires regularly as they can cut into the bark very quickly. Strong branches should be shaped with copper-wires because they can be left on the tree for a much longer period. One can use threads instead of copper wire. In the case of wiring, the plant will grow according to shape profusely after some time. 

Repotting:

Repot your Banyan tree two times every year, using a basic Bonsai soil mixture. During repotting root should be pruned otherwise it will have outer growth and it will tough to maintain in a small pot. It should tolerate root-pruning very well.

Pests/Diseases:

sometimes bonsai infested with scale or spider mites. For treating this insecticide should spray or can be directly applied to the soil. Most of the bonsai plant is resistant to pests and diseases.

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