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Informal Upright Bonsai. Brian Van Fleet. The Basic Bonsai Styles. Cascade. Styles are caused by natural or implied growing conditions Style names are dictated by trunk shape Infinite variants are possible, but will generally fit into these categories. Semi-Cascade. Informal Upright.

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Informal upright bonsai

Informal Upright Bonsai

Brian Van Fleet


The basic bonsai styles
The Basic Bonsai Styles

Cascade

  • Styles are caused by natural or implied growing conditions

  • Style names are dictated by trunk shape

  • Infinite variants are possible, but will generally fit into these categories

Semi-Cascade

Informal Upright

Slant

From “Bonsai Techniques II” by John Y. Naka

Formal Upright


Formal upright defined
Formal Upright Defined

Informal

  • Radial Nebari

  • Good trunk taper from base to apex

  • Strong first branch, sets “tone” of tree, emerges at 1/2 to 1/3 the height of the tree

  • Second branch higher than first branch, on opposite side of tree

  • Third branch is at back of tree

  • Apex is balanced above base

  • Graceful, or dynamic trunk movement

  • Branches on outside of curves

Photos: “The Step-by-step Guide to Growing Bonsai” by Colin Lewis


Informal upright rules
Informal Upright “Rules”

The differences between Formal and Informal are subtle…can you identify them?


Informal upright rules1
Informal Upright “Rules”

  • Roots should radiate out from the trunk at an even level, and taper gently into the soil

  • Trunk tapers as it ascends

  • Branches emerge at the outside of bends

  • Branches taper from trunk distally; movement repeats trunk movement

  • Branches become thinner as they ascend, and move from parallel to more perpendicular to the soil


Examples
Examples

  • Radial Root System

  • Cylindrical, well-tapered trunk

  • Apex balanced over base to provide sense of stability

Rule Breaker? Opposed branches…


Examples1
Examples

  • Cylindrical, well-tapered trunk

  • Apex balanced over base

  • 1, 2, 3 branch pattern


Examples2
Examples

  • Radial Root System, powerful base

  • Cylindrical, well-tapered trunk with movement

  • Apex balanced over base

  • First branch sets “tone” for tree

  • Branches on the outsides of curves


Examples3
Examples

  • Radial Root System

  • Cylindrical, well-tapered trunk

  • Apex balanced over base

  • 1, 2, 3 branch pattern

Rule Breaker? “Eye-Poke” branch…


Breaking the rules
Breaking the “Rules”

  • Crossing Roots

  • Low #1 branch

  • #2 branch is 2 branches that emerge from the same side, and to the back

  • Main branch is 3rd branch up

  • Branches at inside of curves

  • Trunk takes dynamic, inconsistent bends toward the top

  • BUT…it works…


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