How to Properly Prune Your Bonsai Tree

Bonsai tree with pruning tool

When most people think of bonsai trees, they think of small, delicate trees that are easy to care for. In reality, bonsai trees are just like any other tree – they need to be pruned and trimmed to maintain their shape and health. Pruning a bonsai tree is not difficult, but it does require some knowledge and experience. This article will explain how to prune your bonsai tree correctly.

When you prune your bonsai tree, removing any dead or damaged branches using sharp scissors or clippers is vital.

>> Recommended Bonsai Pruning Tools

While pruning your bonsai tree, it is essential to cut back healthy branches to shape the tree and control its growth. You should always use sharp scissors or clippers when pruning your tree and disinfect the tools after each use. Cut back any dead or dying branches and any branches that are growing in the wrong direction. When pruning a young tree, make sure to leave plenty of small branches so that the tree can grow properly. Older trees should be pruned more severely, with only a few large branches remaining.

The Three Types of Pruning

Light pruning

Light pruning is an essential part of caring for your bonsai tree. It is simply removing dead or diseased branches from the tree. This helps to keep the tree healthy and looking its best. Be sure to use sharp scissors or clippers when pruning to avoid damaging the branch.

Heavy pruning

Heavy pruning is more extensive and involves removing larger branches and limbs. This type of pruning should only be done every two to three years, as it can seriously stress the tree. It’s essential to make clean cuts that are angled away from the trunk, using sharp tools. Heavily pruned trees need plenty of water and fertilizer to help them recover.


Pinching is a type of light pruning that involves pinching off new shoots with your fingers. This can be done anytime between early spring and midsummer. Make sure to pinch just the recent shoot, not any leaves. Pinching helps control the size and shape of the tree and encourages new growth.

When to Prune Your Bonsai Tree

The time of year you prune your bonsai tree is crucial. You don’t want to prune your tree when it is in bloom because it will not have time to recover before the flowers appear. In the spring, you can prune your tree after it has finished blooming. You can also prune it in the summer, but avoid doing any major work in the fall, as the tree will need time to prepare for wintertime to recover before the flowers appear.


In conclusion, it is essential to correctly prune your bonsai tree to maintain its shape and health. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your bonsai tree stays healthy and looks beautiful.