The Art of Micro-Positioning

Many of us started out the same way—with all our bonsai benches in full sun, or all of them tucked under the shade of a massive tree. Too little love or too much. Either way after witnessing some bonsai getting grumpier we ponder where else we might put them. And that is the beginning of the thought bubble that says ‘Aha! Micro-positioning’.

To sum up a few general concepts:

  • Conifers like Pine and Juniper usually appreciate full sun, all day
  • Deciduous like Japanese Maple and Winter Hazel like light shade
  • Accent plants enjoy partial shade, such as next to benches on the ground

A few exceptions to this are:

  • Spruce, Fir, and Hemlock often like a tad bit of shade
  • Wisteria can be in full sun along with the Pines and Junipers
  • Succulent, grass, and reed accent plants may also be in full sun

A few more ideas in micro-positioning:

  • Recently styled trees prefer a bit of shade or greenhouse time
  • Recently defoliated deciduous like some shade for a couple weeks
  • Weaker deciduous usually prefer more shade
  • Weaker pines usually prefer more sun
  • All of this is relative to where you live, how hot it is in the summer, etc.
  • A stressed or diseased tree might appreciate time in a greenhouse, with the benefits of humidity and lack of wind
  • Placement of bonsai can change weekly according to what work was done on them, or how they are responding to where they are

These micro-positioning guidelines lead to two umbrella concepts:

  • Careful consideration of placement minimizes bonsai stress and maximizes growth potential
  • The more kinds of habitat—to riff off of last week’s post—one has in the bonsai area, the greater variety of bonsai one can grow

9 Comments

  1. Ted Hildebrant says:

    Excellent points Michael. What percentage of shade is the shade cloth that you utilize?

  2. YES !!! Micro-positioning in Micro-climates !!! As my garden is mainly full-on SUN, I have been using this concept for a while now, creating different areas in my garden with differing degrees of shade cloth, etc,,, Even using the shade of larger trees for accent plant sun protection… fun stuff !

  3. Thomas Urban says:

    Good post Michael, the sick pines usually prefer sun got me as I was expecting ‘shade’.

    By the way, in the last picture, it looks like the formal upright Ezo spruce. I haven’t seen that one updated in quite a while. Could you please do a post on it and let us know how (what appears to be a re-potted and mature version already) it’s doing?

    Have a good one!

  4. Good post Michael, the sick pines usually prefer sun got me as I was expecting ‘shade’.

    By the way, in the last picture, it looks like the formal upright Ezo spruce. I haven’t seen that one updated in quite a while. Could you please do a post on it and let us know how (what appears to be a re-potted and mature version already) it’s doing?

    Have a good one!

  5. twiliter59 says:

    The position changes of the sun are a constant reminder that bonsai need to be moved according to time of year and species for me. Another area of concern is the sun’s intense heat from reflection off of windows. As larger trees around the yard grow, less and less area is available to meet the special needs of each species. 30 to 40% shade cloth added to heavy sun areas by around the first week in June work best for me.

  6. Ray says:

    Thanks Michael, great information. I walk the bonsai tables every day multiple times checking for water, color of needles and leaves and reposition accordingly. These are lessons i learned from you.
    Much appreciated

  7. Julie says:

    Living on the west coast if Florida, I find my junipers and pines need a little relief from the intense, hot, afternoon sun. Especially since I use cement or marble toppers. You can actually burn your hand by touching.

  8. Robert West says:

    Is relative humidity a part of your micro-position micro climate? Do you water the benches around and under the trees and water the cedar fencing that provide wind protection?

  9. David Wheeler says:

    …..amazing how similar plants are to we ‘humans’……….

    On Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 3:03 AM michael hagedorn wrote:

    > crataegus posted: “Many of us started out the same way—with all our > bonsai benches in full sun, or all of them tucked under the shade of a > massive tree. Too little love or too much. Either way after witnessing some > bonsai getting grumpier we ponder where else we might put” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: