It is important to know when to cut back and create good ramification. Planning the structure of your tree is critical in the early stages, even though the silhouette of the tree may look luscious and full, the structure and therefore the future quality of the tree will be compromised. The ‘pig tailing’ long branches and trimming the outline of the tree is a practice that must be stopped if our bonsai are to reach a high level.
If you cut back too early the strength of the tree is weakened, the best time is when the new growth is approx 5 inches or approx 20cm long, trim back to between 12 and 20 needles. This growth will have thickened the branch and stimulated good root growth, and trimming in July ensures that there is enough time for the tree to make new buds both on the trimmed area and further back down the branch.
To encourage new back budding pluck the needles on the third year’s growth, this will throw out masses of strong new growth before Autumn ready for the following year.