How to Create Bonsai from Regular Trees

  • Published on Nov 30, 2018
  • Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook learns about the ancient art of Bonsai.
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    Time: 3 hours
    Cost: $50 and Up
    Skill Level: Moderate
    Tools List for Creating Bonsai:
    Concave cutter
    Bonsai shear
    Wire cutters
    Root Rake
    Shopping List:
    Bonsai pot
    Bonsai Wire
    Bonsai soil
    1. Begin with a tree in a container and find the face and the front that you want to celebrate.
    2. The Bonsai height should be about six times the size of the trunk.
    3. Take the top off of the tree with the concave cutter.
    4. Pluck the needles off the branches to make room for wiring.
    5. Prune out smaller branches to give the tree more shape.
    6. Use thick Bonsai wire to anchor the tree to the soil and then wrap the trunk to the top. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to size.
    7. Use thinner wire to anchor the branches, working from the bottom up.
    8. Bend the branches to the desired angles.
    9. Rake the roots, starting at the bottom, knocking soil off of the root ball.
    10. Spread the roots out.
    11. Add screens to the container holes and hold them in place with wire.
    12. Add wires to anchor the tree to the container.
    13. Add Bonsai soil to the container and set the tree into the container about ⅓ off to the side with the apex appearing to bow.
    14. Use wire to anchor the tree to the pot.
    15. Add more soil to the pot firmly. Add decorate rocks or moss as desired.
    16. Dunk the tree in a basin of water to remove air bubbles.
    17. Water with a hose and soft nozzle.
    18. After a year, remove the wires from the tree.
    Roger visited Bonsai West ( in Littleton, Massachusetts.
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    Keywords: This Old House, How-to, home improvement, DIY, roger cook, ask this old house, bonsai, landscaping, pruning
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Comments • 685

  • Doug 7RM
    Doug 7RM 3 hours ago

    you're not making this trees any more beautiful, they already are beautiful by nature

  • Hafsa Khan
    Hafsa Khan Day ago +1

    The whole script is like an old tv show 😂
    "I'm gonna do this without damaging the roots"
    "oh i gotta see that"

  • yuriyong
    yuriyong 2 days ago

    Thats a narrator voice.

  • Iwa Pelle
    Iwa Pelle 3 days ago

    Thank you for sharing..🌳

  • Joseph DeCamara
    Joseph DeCamara 3 days ago

    Great video. Thx!

  • Cheesey Bro's
    Cheesey Bro's 6 days ago +1

    It’s jail for plants😂😂😂

  • UTubeuzername84
    UTubeuzername84 7 days ago +1

    1:50 “Like I told you earlier” omg SO rude!!

  • Paige-Lee Morgan
    Paige-Lee Morgan 8 days ago

    I'm just wondering, why don't you put the plant in a bucket of water to get the dirt off? Like hold the truck and move it in circular motions. That way you won't damage the roots with that tool and you will get all the dirt off.
    I've never tried it before. It just came to mind and thought I would ask. 😊

  • ChevyHeavy11
    ChevyHeavy11 9 days ago

    that guy is stacking $

  • ClockFixer 1964
    ClockFixer 1964 9 days ago

    I always kill em......

  • Michelle Hendricks
    Michelle Hendricks 9 days ago +2

    Correct pronunciation of Bonsai is (bone-sai) not bon-sai, which is like in a attack.

    • Lukas Mihara
      Lukas Mihara 8 days ago

      @Michelle Hendricks I'm sorry, I don't know where you got that from, but that's just completely wrong.

    • Michelle Hendricks
      Michelle Hendricks 8 days ago

      @Lukas Mihara Yes, like bone

    • Lukas Mihara
      Lukas Mihara 8 days ago

      like the English word "bone"..?

  • Dr. O
    Dr. O 9 days ago

    Are we done yet? lol

  • Nhà vườn Chao Chảo

    Cảm ơn bạn đã chia sẻ, tôi đến từ Việt Nam

  • Fastbikkel
    Fastbikkel 11 days ago

    I would love to give this a go, but for now i'll stick with my 80+ cacti. Thanks for sharing.

  • twatbass
    twatbass 12 days ago

    200 pound gorilla grabs 45 year old micro tree **** GASP***

  • ZanMan Builds and Burns

    Does no one care that they keep saying "Bonzai" when discussing Bonsai?

  • Ahmad Faris
    Ahmad Faris 12 days ago

    I'm sorry to say this, but please bonsai is like torturing a tree, restrictions of growth by force.

  • Phurpa Wangdi
    Phurpa Wangdi 13 days ago

    will gravel provide enough nutrients???

  • Foxy Gamer 342
    Foxy Gamer 342 13 days ago

    Really liked this

  • Callme Ishmael
    Callme Ishmael 14 days ago

    The guy has spent so much time, and has grown so many trees, and still doesn't pronounce bonsai correctly. Long o, slippery s, please.

  • Siguar Hakaem
    Siguar Hakaem 14 days ago

    Too much of bullshit

  • joann dortch
    joann dortch 14 days ago

    where the update

  • Furnitures Collection
    Furnitures Collection 14 days ago

  • Gadgets Review
    Gadgets Review 14 days ago

  • lefthandcigg 425
    lefthandcigg 425 16 days ago +1

    The old house guy is probably the worst person to be doing these because he just looks like he’s ready for it to be over as soon as it starts.

  • power2go3
    power2go3 17 days ago

    this is amazing

  • Scorpion Jacket
    Scorpion Jacket 17 days ago


  • God of Beans
    God of Beans 18 days ago +3

    "I forced an AI to watch 3000 hours of bonsai youtube videos and this is the result"

  • Mark Ferrie
    Mark Ferrie 18 days ago +5

    1:55 You can hear the guys ticked off through his voice when the other guy picks the plant up 😂

  • ke17h
    ke17h 19 days ago

    Roger is still alive?

  • Adilakout Akout
    Adilakout Akout 21 day ago


  • Lazarus_aap
    Lazarus_aap 22 days ago

    Here hold this tree, ok give it back now! He's like one of those borderline cats that wants to be touched but doesn't want to be touched....

  • ItsRyanHello
    ItsRyanHello 22 days ago


  • jack Rabbit
    jack Rabbit 23 days ago

    He's an oughtist

  • dave k
    dave k 24 days ago

    Great video.. gun point or not

  • Paul Bell
    Paul Bell 24 days ago

    Where have Steve and Norm gone!

  • Changing Things
    Changing Things 24 days ago

    Its pronounced bone sigh, not banzai. Dr Marc Cathey mentioned this to me. He was director of the US national collection at the time.

  • §hąřpśhøõțëŕ
    §hąřpśhøõțëŕ 25 days ago +2

    I think Roger should have this guy in the show for some repair/yaaaarrd workh and make him his beyatch.

  • §hąřpśhøõțëŕ
    §hąřpśhøõțëŕ 25 days ago +2

    That guy is like a overly protective parent. Poor Roger. Lol

  • TheMojo487
    TheMojo487 25 days ago

    Is it necessary to have a drainage at the bottom?

  • Average Adult
    Average Adult 25 days ago

    I love it!! Im ordering stuff immediately to start my own little tree family 😍😍

  • Ethan M
    Ethan M 26 days ago +9

    This guy is definitely kidnapping small children to keep in his basement. Creepy dude hahaha

  • mikbonsai
    mikbonsai 26 days ago +6

    Why are majority of the comments so negative. There is so much information packed into this video.

  • FortyFourFitness
    FortyFourFitness 26 days ago

    The grabbing was comical.

  • Jan Helge Leistad
    Jan Helge Leistad 26 days ago

    Am I the only one feeling sorry for the tree ?

  • adfasd
    adfasd 28 days ago

    Are these guys the good fellas or a couple a wise guys?

  • Lamarck Leland
    Lamarck Leland Month ago

    Very interesting! Thank you

  • Suvijak eng
    Suvijak eng Month ago

    Awesome simple and workful .I never seen before. Double like from Thailand.

  • Autistic Guitar
    Autistic Guitar Month ago

    what a nice guy!

  • Just Chill
    Just Chill Month ago

    I think it's so tense and awkward because it sounds like they're from Boston

  • Abhi R
    Abhi R Month ago

    Nice and Simple Thanks

  • Gabby Koncepcion
    Gabby Koncepcion Month ago

    nice one I love bonsai thanks for upload stay connected

  • Jeremy Owens
    Jeremy Owens Month ago

    Aren't all Bonsai just regular trees? I grew a Wisteria Bonsai from a 30ft Wisteria tree in my backyard.

  • PaladinMapping
    PaladinMapping Month ago

    So basically wires...

  • Meme hell
    Meme hell Month ago +2

    The way they take away trees from eachother LMAO

  • That Guy
    That Guy Month ago

    It's bon-sai. Not bonseye. Foolish Americans

  • ObiTrev
    ObiTrev Month ago

    Hows Norm doing?

  • Amazing Journey
    Amazing Journey Month ago +1

    In your world....lmao

  • Mod Podge
    Mod Podge Month ago +1

    He should take those wire cutters to that mole on his eyelid

  • Zangeef Fangsteen
    Zangeef Fangsteen Month ago +5

    This was uncomfortable to watch because the Bonsai curator grabbed the plant away. Bad energy

  • Gr3nadgr3gory
    Gr3nadgr3gory Month ago +7

    I would love to try and twist two different species of tree together like that. Perhaps mahogany and ironwood if I could get them.

  • Anthony Keel
    Anthony Keel Month ago +1

    What if you start a bonsai from seed? I live in Florida and growing purple, red and blue Jacaranda trees. Thus far they’re only a couple of inches tall.

    • Ross Earles
      Ross Earles 26 days ago

      It can take up to 3-5-10 years of pruning back new growth that pushed the tree to grow higher; just keep trimming back right as new growth is starting to push...this causes the tree to continue to grow in width, but not in height.

    • Brendon Parrott
      Brendon Parrott Month ago

      Seems like they're fully matured. Enjoy!

  • Ivegotwormsinme
    Ivegotwormsinme Month ago

    This is one of the most interesting and educational things I have ever watched on the internet. Not only did it answer every question I've ever had about Bonsai, it also made me feel comfortable enough to try it myself.
    Thank you!

  • MF
    MF Month ago

    This is like putting a betta fish into a bowl xD

  • Jaberwalk1e
    Jaberwalk1e Month ago +2

    NPCs talking to each other

  • mark lewis
    mark lewis Month ago

    they should never have broken up,

  • Lance Uppercut
    Lance Uppercut Month ago

    Aaaah an there’s me thinking all you had to do is scream “ Bonsai!!! Bonsai !!
    at it all day for a few years after going to the That Chinese restaurant the other day.
    But no I kid Mr Miyagi taught me how Daniel son wax on wax off the pine needles 😉.

  • CHloE748
    CHloE748 Month ago

    What’s wotta?

  • Dawner Yumnam
    Dawner Yumnam Month ago

    This plant is on a diet

  • FlintSparked
    FlintSparked Month ago


  • Samson H
    Samson H Month ago

    @2:13 notice how he clearly gives all credit to the Japanese and isn't passing off any techniques as his own? No cultural appropriation here no-sir-eee :)

  • Tetra Digm
    Tetra Digm Month ago +8

    that was the most brutal "gentle root scraping" ive ever seen. jesus i dont think id trust this guy to wash dishes, you sure he wasnt the janitor who got grabbed for an interview by mistake?

  • Runway runner
    Runway runner Month ago

    Dont smoke this plant

  • 請找我pls find me

    Excuse me, but how do you grow regular trees from bonsai tree seeds? Can somebody teach me, please?

    • Ross Earles
      Ross Earles 26 days ago +1

      Bonsai is the art of caring for a tree in a pot; they are regular trees that are grown from regular tree seeds, nothing special about that. You take regular trees and bonsai them; bonsai isn't an actual species.

  • gorlack2231
    gorlack2231 Month ago

    Tahm Braydee has gawt ah whicked ahm, he's be grate for all does fahkin little trees.

  • Christopher Keillor

    I want to do a bonsai in a bottle what type of tree would do good in that type of environment yes I know I'd have to do special tools kind of like a boat in the bottle tool setup but

  • John Cline
    John Cline Month ago +4

    Wire shaping is cheating.

  • Tikimohn
    Tikimohn Month ago

    I can't stand their accents.....

  • Linas Vaičiukynas
    Linas Vaičiukynas Month ago

    Short answer - torture trees as much as possible..

  • Cassidy Forsstrom
    Cassidy Forsstrom Month ago

    If the guy were an expert on Bonsai then he would be pronouncing it correctly instead of pronouncing it like the Japanese war cry, Banzai.

  • RanochVTX
    RanochVTX Month ago


  • edmondjhg
    edmondjhg Month ago

    I didn't notice the tension between those two at the beginning, hahaha! I had to read the comments.

  • Obadiah Kilgore
    Obadiah Kilgore Month ago

    Hes very good dont get me wrong, but he literally says "...and im gonna do it without damaging the roots" and then proceeds to agitate the S**T out of them. I feel like we were nefariously lied to. Lolol

  • Brendan Kurzke
    Brendan Kurzke Month ago

    in "THe Man in The High Castle World", the Bonzai man would be living on the West Coast for sure!

  • Now Go Away And Do Something Good

    while pruning my bonsai redwood, i accidentally stepped on some tiny californian protesters

  • Dee Pea
    Dee Pea Month ago

    Very awkward exchanges.

  • FunFrog
    FunFrog Month ago +3

    I'm so high right now.

    • MrB1923
      MrB1923 Month ago

      Lucky, lucky bastard. 🥺

    ADMIRAL Ai Month ago +1

    This is a niche art community I could get behind 💪💨😤😤👌👌👍👍👍🔥🔥🔥 🌲

  • King Of Sludge
    King Of Sludge Month ago

    Can bonsai trees be made from willows?

    • MrB1923
      MrB1923 Month ago

      Yes. Google 'willow bonsai tree'.

  • alex roy
    alex roy Month ago

    Whether that bonsai is an art,we forcefully make, the naturally made tree to grow another way...isn't it?

  • Robert Teepell
    Robert Teepell Month ago +35

    Oh my lord xD the first 40 seconds of this video are absolutely hilarious!
    (If i’m not mistaken) The Boston accents mixed with the almost forcibly done interview...i’m crying this is great 😂

  • The Haunting Hour
    The Haunting Hour Month ago +1

    Like I told you earlier! Are you even listening too me?

  • Filiph Sandberg
    Filiph Sandberg Month ago

    i just saw a man kill a tree

  • Carrie topwood
    Carrie topwood Month ago +178

    3 of my assumptions:
    1.They were establishing dominance. (the way they ripped/handed the plants from each other)
    2. One man stole the other mans high school sweetheart 30 years ago (never resolved)
    3. This was filmed at gun point.

    • Aemanda Landry
      Aemanda Landry 25 days ago +2

      I believe it was 2. One of them started landscaping and got a girlfriend, she loved his artistic style with yards. The other saw Jesse's girl and wish he had her, so boom bonsai happened. She was Owen Wilson wowed by how small he could get them. He wished that he had Jesse's girl and he got her.

  • Phil
    Phil Month ago +4

    Holy GOD, how can you teach about something and not even know how to Pronounce it!!!??

  • Vie
    Vie Month ago

    Guys stop criticising his technique. He's been doing this for a long time I think he knows what he's doing.

  • Vie
    Vie Month ago

    Their accents are awesome

  • Fred Beer
    Fred Beer Month ago

    I don’t know how people have the patience for this lol

  • Mel.
    Mel. Month ago +5

    Daniel San , like a Bonsai you have strong root. You must see a Bonsai inside tree. Then Inside you. -Mr. Miyagi

  • Sean Peters
    Sean Peters Month ago

    How the eff did RUclip know I wanted to know about this when I didn't even know I wanted to know
    Let's go get us some trees