Video Tutorials > How to Make a Large Beuvronensis Bonsai

How to Make a Large Beuvronensis Bonsai

In this video, I want to show you how we create our large Beuvronensis bonsai trees. I also would like to take you around our nursery and show you various examples of these trees in different sizes and at different stages of development.
Peter stood with large Beuvronensis bonsai tree
I have here a miniature Scots pine. The botanical name is ‘pinus sylvestris Beuvronensis’ or ‘Beuvronensis pine’ for short. As you can see, it’s a two needle pine, but the needles are very short.
Close up of Beuvronensis Pine Needles
The tree was created about 30 years ago from ordinary nursery stock. As you can see, it’s a very fine bonsai.
Close up of Beuvronensis Pine Trunk and Branches
This is another example Beuvronensis pine, we develop these trees for supply to Landscapers, who use them when creating Japanese gardens. We use the same bonsai pruning principles to shape these larger trees.
Peter stood next to large Beuvronensis Bonsai tree
If I take you for a walk through our nursery, you will see so many examples of these Beuvronensis trees. They are all large trees, verging on garden trees, but they are all pruned and shaped like bonsai. You will see they are all in different stages of development.
Three Beuvronensis Bonsai trees in Nursery
Here we have a juniperus chinensis grey owl. Our large juniper garden trees have all been trained for around 25-30 years. They are still developing, but getting there!
Juniperus Chinensis grey owl bonsai tree
As we walk further along the nursery we will see many more of these trees. We have hundreds of them which have all been grown from young plants. They are all coming along nicely, with lovely bonsai shapes. In this instance, we have not used any wiring. These trees have all been created by pruning.
Peter walking along bonsai nursery
Beuvronensis bonsai trunk
This is another Beuvronensis pine which has been made into a large bonsai (about 5ft tall). This tree was wired at some stage and you can see the beautiful shape that it has created.
Peter with large Beuvronensis pine bonsai
Along here you will see examples of Beuvronensis trees that have not yet been trained at all. For the first 15 years of their lives, these trees were grown in the ground. They were then transferred to pots where they have spent the last 10 years or so. We will gradually begin to shape all of these bonsai trees.
Peter showing us untrained trees in Beuvronensis bonsai nursery
This shade tunnel provides enough protection for our juniper rigidas and itoigawa juniper trees during winter. The temperature in these tunnels will go down to -5. If the frost becomes too harsh we will place the trees underneath the benches for additional protection. Peter stood next to row of Beuvronensis bonsai trees
Some trees (like this one) are just crying out to be made into large bonsais, rather than garden trees.
Peter holding branch of Beuvronensis pine bonsai tree
I’ll now take you inside the workshop, and show you how simple it is to make a large Beuvronensis bonsai.

I picked out this large, Beuvronensis pine from the nursery to work on as an example. This tree has been growing on the nursery for the last 20 years. When first planted, this tree was no thicker than a finger. For the last 10 years, I decided to put this tree in a pot, to slow ther rate of growth.
Peter with Beuvronensis pine in workshop
You can see here there are quite a few mushrooms growing in the pot. This shows us just how healthy the tree is. This tree must have a lot of the mycorrhiza in the soil, which all pines have.
Mushrooms in bonsai soil in pot
I want to keep this as a large garden tree. If I were to make it into a bonsai I would probably reduce the size. That is not to say however that bonsai trees cannot be large. In the Europe many choose to create large bonsais as we tend to have a lot more garden space. In Japan, bonsais tend to be a lot smaller as people just don’t have the space to keep large trees.

The beauty of this tree is that it has a very nice curve to it. The curvature of the trunk is all natural. At some point I may have cut one or two small twigs off, but the general shape of the tree has been formed naturally.
Peter showing curve on bonsai tree
When it comes to creating bonsai, every tree has many options. If I wanted to, I could cut everything off at one side and make it into a literati tree.
Peter holding branches on Beuvronensis bonsai
I could also utilize the beautiful trunk line and cut the tree off here.
Peter holding branches on Beuvronensis bonsai
Nonetheless, I think the best thing to do to this tree is just a bit of pruning and wiring. This way, I can always have the option of growing it as a big bonsai, or planting it as a garden tree.

To determine the front of a bonsai tree you need to look for the trunk line. It’s always best to keep turning the tree and take a step back, so you gain a full perspective on what the tree has to offer.

The good thing about Beuvronensis bonsai is that they ‘bud back’ easily. This means if you were to prune the tips of these shoots back, you would get a lot of new growth and new shoots coming. Beuvronensis is one of the easiest pines for creating bud back. By pruning the tips new buds will grow all along the branch.
Peter pruning tips of Beuvronensis bonsai shoots
Looking at the other branches on the tree, I can see these two branches are certainly usable.
Peter holding bonsai branches with red circle highlighting branches
I am going to split many of these branches, to make them easier to manipulate. Those of you who have watched some of my earlier youtube videos may have seen be demonstrate how and why we split branches in bonsai. When branch splitting, you are making one thick branch into two, thinner slivers, which makes the branch easier to bend.
Peter using stainless steel branch splitter tool on branches
Close up of bonsai branch splitting process
I wrap very thick wire (around 5.5mm) in a coil around the split branches.
Close up of Peter wrapping thick wire around tree branch
I’ve bent these two branches backwards towards the tree. I used this technique to make the branch look shorter.
Wired branches on bonsai tree
I will next wire these two branches. You may have heard me talk about the ‘two branch principle’ in other Youtube videos. In bonsai, we always wire branches in pairs. We seek out branches that are similar in thickness and use one single piece of wire for both. We do this so that one branch acts as the anchor for the other. It also makes for much neater wiring.
Peter holding two bonsai branches
I start by wrapping the wire around the back of the trunk, to give the formation extra stability. You can see the wire starts behind the trunk and both ends wrap around each branch.
Wire wrapped around two bonsai branches
For the twigs that are sprouting off these branches, I will use a slightly thinner wire.
Peter continuing to wrap wire around branches
Now I have completed wiring the branches, I need to decide which of the remaining branches I will keep and which I will dispose of.

As I mentioned earlier, if I wanted to make it a classical bonsai shape I could cut the tree here, which would make the left branch into the new leader.
Peter showing where bonsai would be cut
I now have a big decision to make. Do I cut the tree a turn it into a classical bonsai, or do I keep all that height? To help me decide, I will wire these branches on my right hand side. If it turns out to be a nice design I will keep it. If not I will probably dispose of the top part of the tree.
Peter holding two branches on bonsai tree
Peter wiring bonsai branches
After wiring the remaining branches I have discovered a problem branch. The branch is leaning forward. It is possible to bend the branch backward as pines are very flexible. However, the question is, will this add to the trees look in any way?

I shorten the branch to see what it looks like.
Peter using shears to cut bonsai branch
Some people may want to make a jin with this, but I’m not a fan of making jins for the sake of it.
Bonsai after branch cut
I’m still undecided whether I would like to keep the tree at this height, or come back to the shorter option. I use the good old ‘bag trick’ to help me decide. I simply take a white plastic bag to cover the part of the tree I may potentially get rid of.

There we have it, we have a much better idea of what the tree would look like if we were to shorten it.
Peter holding plastic bag against bonsai tree
I can see the trunk line is quite interesting like that. I’m torn between the two options, as I know I have many customers who like big trees.

If I was to keep it as a big tree, I would probably cut this part of. Again, I use a plastic bag to see what this would look like.
Bonsai tree with red line marking potential cut
Peter holding plastic bag against bonsai tree
It’s time to make a decision. I am still inclined to make it a shorter tree, so I’m going to go ahead with it.

When using a saw, I always use a left hand glove. I would always recommend wearing a glove on your non-dominant hand when using a sharp implement (especially a saw such as this). It will help to provide protection in the event of an accidental slip.

Rather than making a clean cut, I’m going to shorten the branch and turn it into a jin. I saw into the branch then snap it off by hand
Peter sawing branch
Branch left behind after cut
I also trim this shorter branch, and use same approach to create another jin (make a partial cut then rip it off by hand). As I mentioned before, I don’t like creating jins and sharis for the sake of it. You should ask yourself if the jin/shari will complement the tree.
Peter using branch splitter to create jin
Now, whoever buys this tree can finish off the jin. If they don’t like this feature, they can easily cut it off.

You can see we have now ended up with a much shorter tree with a beautiful trunk line.
Front view of bonsai
I think it would be interesting to do a twisted, stripped bark effect on the tree. I use a permanent marker to mark on the tree where I want to strip the bark. I’m cheating a bit here, as I’m going to make it appear as though the twisted bark is going all around the tree, whereas it’s actually just going to be the front.
Peter using permanent marker to mark bonsai trunk
Peter using knife to strip away bark on bonsai trunk
This technique is not going to hurt the tree at all. I am still leaving behind a sufficient amount of bark to carry on taking the sap up the tree.

You can see how the spiral effect is beginning to take place.
Peter continuing to strip bark away
This technique is very effective on most evergreens such as Larch, Juniper and pine or a deciduous conifer.

I’ve now given the tree quite a lot of interesting features and reduced its height. I will leave the tree in the pot for another year. In the spring, it will be put into a bonsai training pot. In time to come, this will become quite a nice Beuvronensis bonsai.
Front view of Beuvronensis bonsai