New Book: ‘Bonsai Heresy’

This book has been in the works for some years now. To those who were aware of this and have been asking ad nauseam when it will be done, I now have an answer. Soon.

Bonsai Heresy is about the myths of common bonsai technique and thought. The book recounts some of my past misdeeds, looks into our group fallacies, and works to correct the most ill-advised of these techniques and ideas using the tools of tradition, science, common sense, and embarrassing stories.

The book has over 50 chapters of technical and aesthetic myths, including some half-correct ones like ‘Choose the front first’ and ‘Pigeon breasts are naughty’, lays out the debunking science behind B1 and other chemical additives, offers new thoughts in such debates as ‘Any soil the nursery industry uses will work fine for bonsai’, ‘Copper wire is for boneheads / Aluminum wire is for sissies’, ‘Bonsai is an art / Bonsai is not an art’, and dives into the myth-laden morasses around using / not using wound sealant, the inner core at repotting time, moss, plant hardiness, sacrifice branches, age in bonsai…and on and on.

The choice of chapters was based on topics I’d overheard multiple times and felt were in need correction or clarification.

Look for Bonsai Heresy in 2019. No cover for it yet so I can’t offer an image, but imagine something an inquisition wouldn’t like.


  1. Rdger Kessler says:

    Wonderous Michael, cant wait! Rodger

  2. “NOOOObody expects the Spanish Inquisition !!!”

    • crataegus says:

      Truly… though I’ve given them a heads up, so maybe they will be expected?

      • Aha !!! Turning the tables on them, eh ? Fight comfy chair with comfy chair !!! But all M. Python aside, I’m really stoked to hear about this book Michael… I have been reading Modern Bonsai Practice and while it is very informative, it is very dry… Dusty dry… I trust this new tome by you will seasoned with some of the same stuff as your first book and therefore, a bit tastier… As an aside, have you read Modern Bonsai Practice ? And if so, what is your opinion of it in general ?

      • crataegus says:

        Hi from across the world Kevin! Well…it’s more turning the tables on us… we’re all implicated in this one, including me. But I’ve not read Modern Bonsai Practice. Can’t yet comment… my own book is spicy, as usual, yes…

      • not so far away as from across the world… just Wisconsin 😉

  3. Will you be listing it for preorder?

  4. Dwayne Berrett says:

    Looking forward to very word…with your great blend of bonsai and writing talents, it’s bound to be a winner!

  5. Luzia Bernstein says:

    I can’t wait to order mine.

  6. Tom says:

    Michael,who is the publisher, please?

    • crataegus says:

      Like the first book, Post-Dated, I’ll be self-publishing this one. Enjoyed the designing and all of Post-Dated. Looking forward to doing this one as well. But to answer your question…I’m the sole proprietor of a very tiny book publishing company called Crataegus Books…

  7. Vern Maddox says:

    How about a pre order? I am more than ready for this book.

  8. Frank Corrigan says:


  9. J. J says:

    Magic! When and how can one pre-order?

  10. Ruth Anderson says:


  11. Ray says:

    Looking forward to it Michael.

  12. Terry Davis says:

    Suggest for cover: plain brown wrapper

  13. Thomas Anglewicz says:


    We await your new book with anticipation. You are a very gifted writer, and I’m sure it will be an informative and entertaining read!

    Tom Anglewicz


  14. Charlie H. Mosse says:

    Read Post Dated and enjoyed it. It is time for some respectful heresy. Bonsai is loosening up and the trees coming out of the non-cookie cutter molds are amazing. Hort knowledge is growing and some of the myths are being exposed by this and open minds. This new book sounds fun and enlightening. Can’t wait to read it.

  15. José Rivera says:

    Please Michael let me know when the book is ready for

  16. Mike Cole says:

    is the new book in print yet?
    thanks, Michael Cole

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