What are the Different Bonsai Tools?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2019
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Bonsai is the Japanese art of cultivating miniature trees. The word bonsai is comprised of two Japanese words, bon meaning dish and sai meaning tree or plant. If a person wishes to grow a bonsai tree, only a few tools are needed.

Tools can be purchased in a variety of styles and prices, but quality tools will help a person nurture a bonsai in the most effective and efficient manner. Despite the several types of tools available for bonsai cultivation, most people would do well to begin with three basic pieces of equipment. These include trimming shears, branch cutters, knob cutters, tweezers, wire cutters, and a folding saw.

Trimming shears are some of the most important bonsai tools a person can own. These shears snip the branches, twigs, and leaves of the tree. Trimming shears can be purchased in two sizes: fine trimming shears cut smaller branches while general trimming shears cut larger ones. Branch cutters cut thick branches and roots, while knob cutters are used after the branch has been removed. The rounded blade of the knob cutter hollows out a part of the trunk, making it easier for the tree to form a callus.


Needle tweezers are used to remove leaves, weeds, or pine needles from a pine bonsai plant. Bonsai cultivators should invest in a quality pair of tweezers with grip points on the tip of the tool. This will allow a person to achieve a firm grip on each particular part of the plant.

Wire cutters are bonsai tools that are used to cut aluminum or copper wire that is needed to wire the branches of the tree. They are also used to remove old wire. Folding saws are ideal bonsai tools to cut branches that are too thick for the branch cutter to handle. Those who wish to use more advanced bonsai tools can consider purchasing jinning pliers, jinning knives, bonsai soil sifting screens, and other specialized tools.

No matter which bonsai tools a person decides to purchase to cultivate a miniature tree, it's important to keep them clean. This will allow the tools to continue to function properly throughout the years. In order to keep the tool in good condition, remove any dirt or sap from the equipment.

The tools can then be cleaned by using soap and water. After drying the tools, apply WD-40®, preventing rust from forming on the bonsai tools. Finally, wipe the tools dry, removing all traces of the oil. By taking time to maintain the tools, the equipment will remain rust-free. Sharpen the tools at least once a week so they will tackle cutting tasks easily. When storing the tools, place them in a cloth or leather bag so they will be in pristine condition.


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What are the tools used when you are planting a bonsai tree?

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