Bonsai Pruning: Stress Relief or Dangerous Mind Disease?

Bonsai Pruning: Stress Relief or Dangerous Mind Disease?

Posted by Bonsai Outlet on 18th Mar 2014

I’m a huge fan of pruning bonsai trees. For me, there’s nothing like the peace and relaxation I get from dropping everything (no pun intended) and trying to bring out a tree’s true potential. I’m not artist, but I imagine it’s similar to their creative expression process. Tune out, forget your daily stress, and just work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a tree and by the time I looked up, hours had gone by … and I felt better than when I started.

However, I wanted to warn my fellow enthusiasts about a hidden danger related to pruning – an evil over-indulgence/compulsion that affects the mind, if not the hands. Call it the lack of the “off-switch.”

Maybe you’ve already stumbled on this. For me, it’s more likely to occur in the first few hours or days after I work on a tree. I have a long driveway and live in a rural area, so as I walk my dog, I can’t help but notice real trees in need of a trim. Oaks, birches, maples, ash – it doesn’t matter what type, or even how large they are. I still get the itch to get out there and start cutting. To be honest, I have already given in to this urge, and now the proverbial snowball is picking up speed. At first, I started with saplings and smaller trees, ones that had branches I could reach. After finishing those, I invested in a 12-foot extend-able pole saw complete with rope-operated shears to reach higher limbs. I’ve found that with a ladder, I can reach some branches up to 18 feet in the air. Such joy!

The only problem is the scope of the work. Because I live in a very rural area, the trees surrounding my yard are many, and are in desperate need of trimming. Now, as I glance around the perimeter, all I can see are trees that don’t quite look the way I want them to. My wife has caught on and now knows when I’m studying my next prospect (or victim!). “Stop looking at those trees,” she’ll tell me. “it will only make you crazy.” Sad to say, she’s right. Now, I feel like a cheating spouse, stealing furtive glances at a new object of affection and trying to keep my thoughts secret.

Father’s Day recently passed and while I received countless priceless handmade treasures for the kids, I must say I didn’t receive that one gift I had half-kiddingly suggested: a power pole saw to replace my manual, now dull version. Maybe next year!