How to Create Bonsai from Regular Trees | Ask This Old House

  • 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 _ 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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    Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we're ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers-and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O'Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.
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    How to Create Bonsai from Regular Trees | Ask This Old House
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Comments • 802

    WTHFX 2 days ago

    Japanese White Pine are quite unforgiving. I'm curious if this tree is still alive given all that was done to it. What was the time of repotting and what was the aftercare management?

  • Harrison Getz
    Harrison Getz 6 days ago +2

    me: i wanna do my own bonsai
    them: this bonsai is 70 years old

  • Hector Diaz
    Hector Diaz 7 days ago +2

    This might be "therapeutic" but it seems like this "art" turns u into a sour old lonely man lol this guy did not like Roger holding the plant one the end he was a little more loose with his humor tho🤷🏽‍♂️

  • The 9th Spade
    The 9th Spade 9 days ago

    Everyone in the comments talking about microaggression has clearly never seen aggression, or real people.

  • Brandon Ashby
    Brandon Ashby 9 days ago

    Oh geez.... here we go for a rant now. 1. Some facts are correct. That tree though is so dead now! Or if it still is alive that apex and body of the tree has way to many branches and will create too much thickening in many areas in the end result creating a very crappy and non ascetically pleasing tree in just a matter of 2 or so years!! Not trying to bash this guy but he could have worked the tree a little before the video to at least get rid of some branches and set a game plan for a overall much much better tree!

  • Andys Constandinides


  • lee
    lee 9 days ago

    9:09 "Are we done now?"
    dude, calm down... xD

  • Monster Fox
    Monster Fox 17 days ago

    Can everyone stop exaggerating how “”aggressive”” they are? They’re just taking the pots from each other 😐

  • Goldenglare_thewindeater

    I have a question. I’m going to try and turn my sisters orange tree into a bonsai for her. But it’s 10 years old at least. Is it possible for me to turn it into one without possibly killing it?

  • gill s
    gill s 25 days ago

    i got a feeling this dude watches anime

  • amrita bhandary
    amrita bhandary 26 days ago

    He is so rough with the tree...

  • 楽しい盆栽日記


  • Mario V
    Mario V Month ago

    I love plants, but this just feels wrong. A plant is a living thing, just like us, and other animals, this seems like torture to the plant. It’s not natural.

  • Travis B
    Travis B Month ago

    2:05 Roger's thinking "I think this dickhead just farted and thinks I wouldn't notice"

  • A H
    A H Month ago

    who knew Peter Griffin was so interested in Bonsai

  • Less Talk, More Delicious

    This channel is like watching The Departed... but super awkward and about plants.

  • Rx Lo10
    Rx Lo10 Month ago

    Awesome 👍

  • Habeelrahman Pm
    Habeelrahman Pm Month ago

    What a sound mahn

  • Chaotic Reaper
    Chaotic Reaper Month ago

    Duck a beautiful hobby

  • joshua ramirez
    joshua ramirez Month ago

    Is it me or is the teacher a bit condescending?

  • Brett Gordon
    Brett Gordon Month ago

    Is this at bonsai west ??

  • SomeoneCommenting
    SomeoneCommenting Month ago

    Americans think that a bonsai is just "having a small tree in a pot", but this is a millennial _art_ and it is much, *much* more than just a tree in a small pot. Forget about watching westerners talking about bonsais. They only treat it as a commercial trend. Always look for the Asians if you want real bonsai advise. That's _their_ cultural turf.

  • KatanaShot
    KatanaShot Month ago

    The japanese are better and cooler

  • A I
    A I Month ago +1

    Looks great. Thanks for sharing!!

  • mswoe042
    mswoe042 Month ago

    Enjoyed this video . Interesting & informative

  • Mischa Romo
    Mischa Romo Month ago

    The acting in this is so bad it's good

  • Max v B
    Max v B Month ago

    And... then what?

  • Kenneth Ellseth
    Kenneth Ellseth 2 months ago

    question..... I have never ever done bonsai but people say I can start with saplings.. does that mean I can take a piece of a pine tree branch? Cut it off and plant it and it will start growing new branches and roots?

  • Dừa Bonsai Channel
    Dừa Bonsai Channel 2 months ago

    Who love coconut bonsai please welcome to my channel 🌴🌴🌴

  • felipe novaes
    felipe novaes 2 months ago


  • MegaSocky
    MegaSocky 2 months ago +1

    I feel like this is a scripted ish interview but theyve done so many takes everyones just passive aggresive at this point

  • Mustafa free soul
    Mustafa free soul 2 months ago +1

    The elders japanees havent wires . How do they turned the trees into bonsai?!

  • AntiFem Glasscock
    AntiFem Glasscock 2 months ago +1

    This reminds me of a guy who is training another guy to take over his job but before then he slept with his wife!

  • Jeremy Cornwell
    Jeremy Cornwell 2 months ago

    Pefect #bow lim's

  • coppaobc
    coppaobc 2 months ago

    I am fairly new to bonsai and wanting to start from seed (I know this takes years). I have purchased seeds from amazon and eBay with little to no luck, dead seeds arrive with no labeling. I was able to get two trees from hundreds of seeds. If anyone has any seeds, I would forever be grateful. Happy bonsai-ing.

  • II to wavyy bihh ll-AOG -
    II to wavyy bihh ll-AOG - 2 months ago +1

    I want a bonsai weed tree😫

  • Just Me
    Just Me 2 months ago +1

    Over 20 years ago I was in Walnut Creek, California to have breakfast at a Denny's and parked in a public parking lot. There were those planters in the parking lot and one had a tiny Chinese elm that had been stepped on and broken (wild tree), and was trying to grow back. I saw a perfect bonsai specimen. I had an aluminum can and drinking water, and hand pruners (I was in the landscape business), so I dug down and cut the root about 6" long put soil into the can, plenty of water, and took it home. Put it in a one gallon pot for one year, Then pulled it out and cut that long root and trimmed more roots. Put it into a very nice bonsai pot with some stones (just as shown in the video) and had it kept outdoors for 11 years. It went through the seasons each year outdoors. So sad when I moved away and gave it to a friend. I hope it's still being well cared for.

  • Abraxis86
    Abraxis86 2 months ago

    I'm guess the Japanese did not have a vast selection of different wire gauges to bend their banzais, so why don't you explain how they did it without forking over their life saving to your overlords at Big Wire.

    • Jon M
      Jon M 2 months ago +1

      They did it with rope. Same exact principle, just less easy to work with.

  • Gajender SONU kaushik NINDU

    Very good

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    Gulliver's travels.

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    how about creating some teeny tiny little salmon in an itty bitty little rushing river and some tiny little bears to suit your self ?

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    is it really an image of yourself ?

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    Do they ever produce tiny pine cones ?

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    pretend you are god.

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    Hey why not .humans have thrown monkeys into space and transplanted the heads to serve themselves why not you ?

  • John Rutledge
    John Rutledge 2 months ago

    bozai is not a nice thing to do to a tree. unless there is a cataclysm or you want to create an art piece to impress your self and other people of how confused you are about your place in life.

  • cecilyt006
    cecilyt006 2 months ago

    Deez Olde Nutz

  • Melk Tert
    Melk Tert 3 months ago

    Not trying to sound vegan, but this is borderline treetorture... feel kinda bad for the plants

    • Melk Tert
      Melk Tert 3 months ago

      @Shane hehe i know, but still

    • Shane
      Shane 3 months ago

      Melk Tert it literally keeps the tree alive for centuries once cared for and you literally care for the tree much more than a large one... also isn’t being vegan tree torture LOL

  • Facuu Jv
    Facuu Jv 3 months ago

    how is this man?

  • rahul chaudhary
    rahul chaudhary 3 months ago +1

    2:15 am and I don't know why am watching bonsai but I love it!

  • Bob Singe
    Bob Singe 3 months ago

    Meat eaters are furious of this plant torture!

  • WeLoveCantimari
    WeLoveCantimari 3 months ago

    A lot of shade in this video, and most of it isn't coming from the trees.

  • Life'sWhatever
    Life'sWhatever 3 months ago

    I'm not saying it's bad at all, this was very informational and straightforward, it was helpful, I love it, but..there's just something odd about learning Japanese traditions from white dudes you feel me?

  • Anna Azarov
    Anna Azarov 3 months ago

    Thanks for tips .

  • James Avery
    James Avery 3 months ago

    Can you do this to a pot plants ? Smoke little tiny buds

  • Clown Shoes MMA
    Clown Shoes MMA 3 months ago

    Is it just me or does it look like these guys are hoping to find any reason to throw down with each other?

  • Captain_Bigzy
    Captain_Bigzy 3 months ago +1

    50 shades of Bonsai

  • boneyween
    boneyween 3 months ago

    wtf's with the sexual tension geez

  • Snowblind
    Snowblind 3 months ago

    If you close your eyes it sounds like two guys reading from a script... terrible. Still very informative though :D

  • Ivy King
    Ivy King 3 months ago

    These Americans....
    What a people