Check List for Preparing for a Bonsai Show

Preparing a bonsai for a show or display is primarily a task of attending to detail work.  Here are a few tips which might help in preparing a bonsai for the annual show.
  • Trim/groom your trees at least two weeks prior to the show.
  • The foliage should be groomed for display by removing any damaged or discolored leaves or needles.  Wash off any dust on the foliage.
  • Shoots and/or branches that extend outside of the designed silhouette should be pinched or trimmed off.
  • Excess leaves and large leaves should be eliminated and make sure the maples have not developed very long internodes in the new growth.
  • On pines the needles that are pointing straight down from the branches should also be removed.
  • Scrub the trunk and primary branches of the tree to remove the accumulation of moss and mineral deposits.
  • Areas of dead wood (jin and shari) - treat those areas with lime sulfur to whiten them up.  Do this a week or so before the show as the odor of lime sulfur in an exhibit hall will not be a problem.
  • Check for wiring on the trees - remove, replace or re-wire.  Wiring should be neat and as unobtrusive as possible.
  • Make certain that the trees you want to show do not have any bugs, insects or disease that could infect other trees on show.   Spray your trees for protection.
  • The soil surface should be neat and free of weeds and debris, foreign grasses, dead leaves, pieces of compost, fertilizer cakes, etc.