Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Welcome to Tosho part 2!
In this post, I’m going to talk about how to cut, create pads and show some before and after of more refined Toshos.
How to cut
Developing and cutting Tosho is similar to any other tree used in Bonsai with a few exceptions. Obviously if there is a branch that needs to be thicker or longer, you don’t cut it. If the branch itself is weak or didn’t grow much, you also don’t want to cut it. I’m going to talk about working on nice healthy strong trees. A basic rule to conifers is that when you prune it, you have to prune it back to a point where there is still foliage. If you prune the branch and leave no green, the branch will die back to where there is green foliage. Here is an example:
This next example is if you only need to cut to the green section of the branch.
How to create a pad
Creating pads on a Tosho is similar to Shimpaku. You want to create mulitple fan shape pads that have some density and volume to them. The exception is that Tosho branches tend to be placed a little closer together and the pads are flatter then Shimpaku. Here are some examples of the fan shape.
But Peter, doesn’t working on Tosho hurt?
Actually, working on Tosho isn’t as bad as everybody says it is. It’s a combination of the tools you use and how you handle the tree. I’ve been told that if you work on about 10 Toshos it won’t hurt as much anymore. They say that you’re hands will start to get use to the needles and the pricking sensation won’t bother you as much. I didn’t believe it at first, but after this month’s work, I am definitely more comfortable with sticking my hand into the canopy. Some people will wear thin gloves to protect their hands also, so that is another option. As you work with Tosho, you’re hands will start to adjust to how you handle the foliage. The tree itself forces you to adjust because it will prick you every time you’re not touching it correctly. If you’re just doing maintenance on the tree and only cutting, then you don’t even have to touch the tree at all. Here is why:
Refined before and after
Here’s are a few before and afters to show why Toshos are nice trees to have and worth the time spend working on them.