To Deadwood or Not to Deadwood (for My Friend Sal)

8 months ago Nebby 0

Source: Bonsaibark.

masao arai

There's deadwood and then there's deadwood. It's a safe guess that this crazy tree is a juniper, just like the other two trees shown here (it may also be a safe guess that it's a tanuki*). There's no mention of the artist/owner. Ditto for the other two.

Every few days we get a comment from someone objecting to all the deadwood you see on bonsai these days. I get it, things get overdone. Including deadwood. But if we’re going to consider bonsai an art, then we might want to leave room for experimentation. And if we do that, there’s always going to be results that some people don’t like.

Beyond that, anyone who has spent time in high mountains – especially at or near the tree line – knows that nature has no problem creating deadwood. Often in abundance


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Unusual works for this one. The entire trunk - with deadwood galore - sits right over the pot, while the crown with its funny fishhook sits off to the left. Our source doesn't mention an artist/owner.

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There's plenty of deadwood here, but to my mind at least, it's not a problem. After all, it's a powerful and very well done bonsai, with a strong trunk that's enhanced by perfectly integrated deadwood that reminds me of the twisted juniper deadwood I saw while hiking at the tree line on Mt Lassen

* Tanuki bonsai is a living tree is joined to an interesting piece of deadwood. Also called Phoenix graft

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