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’, 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

  17. Stephen King says:

    Yes, can’t wait, been patiently waiting. Please count me in on the preorder.

  18. Dwayne Berrett says:

    Hey, where is FRESNO on your itinerary?? You must see our permanent bonsai collection at Shinzen Friendship Garden and meet our Bonsaists! Loved your first book and looking forward to Heresy!

  19. Bob Washino says:

    For the sake of your DAD, where is DAVIS on your itinerary! I’ll settle for SACRAMENTO!

    • crataegus says:

      Oh no! How could I have… (everyone, my family lived in Davis back in the late ’60s, we left when I was three). Bob, I will likely be stopping here and there between the listed cities, please don’t fret!

  20. Nelson Sanabria says:

    Definitely buying.

    Thank you Michael 🙂

  21. Ryan Finkbiner says:

    Exposing the lies, deceit and truths of bonsai… I’m riveted already.

  22. Connie Garrett says:

    Looking forward to your book ……… loved the first one! Hey, if you should happen to decide to swing through Denver, the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society would love to host an event for you. Let me know.

    • crataegus says:

      Thank you, I’ll likely be sticking to the exterior of the States just to complete the trip in time, but I do enjoy the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society and had a great time there a few years back.

  23. Daniel Dolan says:

    I have looked for your postings every week for at least 8-10 years…..Please add my name to the list of enthusiastic followers and purchasers of your books. Best regards, Daniel Dolan / Chicago…Hope you will be stopping here on your nationwide tour.

  24. Kerry Munro says:

    Hi can’t wait would you send book to Australia

  25. Bruce Williams says:

    Please add another name to the pre-order list. And, if you finalize your train schedule, let us know when you’ll be in Seattle.

  26. Gregory Flint says:

    Hi Michael,
    I have been excited as I wait for your new book. I believe it is time for a discourse of the subject of bonsai heresy–especially for newcomers to bonsai. Seems like too much dogmatic misinformation in the “older” bonsai texts.
    Please reserve TWO autographed copies for me.

  27. Patrick Reilly says:

    As you know there is a significant bonsai population in the Buffalo/Rochester area which is conveniently located between Montreal and Chicago.(just saying)
    Well, now that “Bonsai Heresy” is essentially done, when can we expect to see “Son of Bonsai Heresy”?

  28. Michael Geiger says:

    can’t wait for your published book, thank you michael for all the effort went into this undertaking. i have only two little trees, maples, both, but love to look at them and give them the occasional clip.
    would also love to have an electronic version of your work, but am also very happy being on your e-mail list.
    thank you, what a beautiful effort, also thanks for those lovely trees at the portland japanese garden, upstairs and downstairs !
    michael geiger

  29. Tresvolcanesenatitlan says:

    Wow, spectacular! I’m interested in your book.

  30. Patrick Simeth says:

    is there a trader for the book in europ / germany, or only available in amerika ?

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