Fruit trees are a great addition to any garden, but they can also be used for bonsai. This article will outline the Basics on Fruit Trees for Bonsai in this form of horticulture. It will cover everything from how to plant your tree, what kind of soil is best, and what type of fertilizer should be used.
Fruit Trees for Bonsai
Types of Bonsai Fruit Trees
Several types of fruit trees work well as bonsais, each with its advantages and disadvantages. These include apples, pears, peaches, plums, and figs.
When choosing a fruit tree for bonsai, consider the size of the mature tree. Some small trees like apples and pears work well, while others like peaches and plums get quite large.
Apple: The apple is a great choice for a bonsai because it has a nice shape and grows slowly. It can be pruned into a nice multi-branched tree.
Pear: The pear tree has similar traits to the apple, but it grows faster and needs more maintenance. It can also be difficult to style because of its fast growth rate.
Peach & Nectarine: These trees grow very quickly and need constant pruning or they will become quite large. They are also susceptible to pests and diseases.
Plum: The plum tree is a good choice for bonsai because it grows slowly and has a nice shape. It can be pruned into many different styles.
Fig: The fig tree is a good choice for bonsai because it doesn’t grow very tall. Although it does well in full sun, it can also thrive in partial shade or indoors.
Fruit Tree Planting & Care: Fruit Trees for Bonsai
Fruit trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. If your tree is indoors, it will need artificial sunlight.
When planting a fruit tree for bonsai, you will need to select a pot that is two sizes smaller than the nursery pot. The soil should be well-drained and fertile. A good mix is one part potting soil, one part sand, and one part compost.
Fertilize your tree every two weeks during the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer. In autumn, feed your tree every two to four weeks.
The Miracle-Gro® Shake ‘n Feed® Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable Plant Food provides all the nutrients your tree needs. It is balanced for both vegetative and blooming plants to encourage healthy growth.
Water your fruit trees frequently but only when necessary; bonsai do not like wet feet! You can tell if your tree needs water by sticking your finger into the soil around its roots. If it is dry several inches down, then it needs water.
How to water a bonsai tree:
- Gently pour water over the soil until it runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
- Do not let your tree stand in water for long periods, as this will rot its roots.
- Make sure to water your tree thoroughly, getting the water all the way down to the roots.
Grafting Fruit Trees: Fruit Trees for Bonsai
Grafting is a process where you join two different plants together to create a new plant. This is often done with fruit trees to combine the best qualities of both plants.
There are two types of grafting: root grafting and scion grafting.
Root grafting is when you join the root of one plant with the stem of another. This is often used to combine two different types of fruit trees, like an apple tree and a peach tree.
Scion grafting is when you join the branches of one plant with the trunk of another. This is often used to create new varieties of fruit trees.
When grafting a fruit tree, you will need to use a sharp knife to make a clean cut. Make sure that the cuts are at an angle and that there is no damage to the cambium layer (the layer of tissue just below the bark).
When grafting two different types of fruit trees, it is important to match the rootstock and scion. Make sure that the cambium layers are touching when you join the two plants together.
Pruning & Training: Fruit Trees for Bonsai
Prune your fruit tree regularly to keep it in the desired shape. You can also wire the branches into position when they are young. Be careful not to over-prune, as this will slow down the growth of your tree.
Training a fruit tree to be a bonsai is a slow process that can take many years. Be patient and enjoy the journey.
Apple, pear, peach, and plum trees should be pruned in the winter when they are dormant. Nectarine and fig trees can be pruned in late winter or early spring.
When pruning a fruit tree for bonsai, always make sure to use sharp scissors or clippers. Cut branches just above a leaf node (the point where a branch joins the trunk). This will encourage the tree to grow side branches.
Cut back new growth by about half, and do not prune leaf buds that are pointing upwards or outwards. Pruning these buds may cause damage but you can train them into a more attractive form later on in the growing season.
Fruit Tree Pests & Diseases: Fruit Trees for Bonsai
Like all plants, fruit trees can be affected by pests and diseases. However, this is even more common with bonsai because they are grown in small containers where insects have an easy time multiplying. Some of the most common problems include aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs, leaf miners, and red spider mites.
Fruit Tree Insects & Diseases: Fruit Trees for Bonsai
If you suspect that insects are attacking your fruit tree, then it is best to inspect the leaves carefully. Aphids look like small clusters of green or black dots on new shoots or flower buds. Scale insects look like small brown or gray bumps and they often cluster under the leaves. Mealybugs look like white, cottony masses on branches and new growths.
If you think that your tree is infested with insects, then it may be time to bring in some pest control! There are many chemicals available for this purpose but I would recommend using a natural insecticide like neem oil.
If your tree is affected by a disease, then it is best to take action as soon as possible. Some common diseases include apple scab, fire blight, canker, and peach leaf curl. There are many different chemicals available for treating fruit tree diseases but would recommend using a fungicide like copper sulfate.
As you can see, bonsai fruit trees are easy to care for. They also make great gifts and decorations. Whether it’s a wedding or birthday party, adding an elegant touch of nature is always appreciated. You don’t need much space because these plants require very little maintenance. You can even grow them indoors. However, make sure that they receive enough sunlight. Keep in mind that fruit trees grow slowly, so you must be patient and take your time when pruning them.
Do I need to prune fruit trees for bonsai?
Yes, you should regularly prune your tree. Pruning is necessary to control the shape and size of your plant. Fruit trees are usually quite small, so it’s important that they stay within their container at all times, or else they can become rootbound. You should also prune in winter when the tree is dormant.
What type of scissors or clippers should I use?
It’s best to use sharp scissors or clippers when pruning a fruit tree for bonsai. Cut branches just above a leaf node (the point where a branch joins the trunk). This will encourage the tree to grow side branches.
Should I cut back new growth by half?
Yes, you should always make your cuts just above a leaf node so that the tree will grow side branches. However, don’t prune too much or else you’ll slow down its growth rate and it may even die. It’s best to only remove about one-third of the new growth at a time.