KnowHow team explains: Nature has endowed all life forms with one essential quality: growth. Embryos turn into large animals from a few cells. Seedlings become plants. And in biosphere, no other creature grows as big as trees.
But unlike animals, trees can be trained to become dwarfs. Although the Japanese claim credits of mastering the craft of turning trees into dwarfs by the use of skilled pruning (the term bonsai means â€˜tray gardeningâ€™ in Japanese), the Chinese art of â€œpenjingâ€ is the actual precursor to bonsai.
When seedlings, root cuttings and small grafted plants are to be developed as bonsai, they are usually first cultivated in ground beds. Here, the branch and root tips are pruned repeatedly. Each pruning session helps the plants to develop â€œdwarfingâ€ habits. Vigorous growth in ground beds encourages a dense growth from the trunk during this period. Besides pruning, various other techniques such as tying and bracing are commonly used to shape branches and trunks.
All these operations forcibly block the plantsâ€™ natural growth. The terminal buds on the tips of the branches and roots contain certain types of cells which multiply and divide to effect the growth in length. Pruning, tying or bracing impede the activity of these cells and eventually stall the overall growth of the plants.