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Bonsai Trees

Q.Is Bonsai Cruel?

Zone Zone 5 | N.Kalomas added on November 14, 2020 | Answered

I was very much looking forward to trying to grow my first bonsai from seed. For the last year I have been reading and researching the history, how to care for, styles and types. What tree is best for beginners etc. Recently I read an article about trees and whether they feel pain or not. After years of research the researchers discovered that trees along with other plants emit an ultrasonic scream when having its limbs trimmed or any trauma done to the tree due to the weather or disease, etc. Trees do feel pain. Bonsai is growth restriction, shape manipulation done a lot of times using wire. Along with trimming lots and lots of trimming. Is Bonsai cruel? Abuse? I can’t knowingly hurt something for my gratification alone or any other reason. Is Bonsai cruel?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on November 15, 2020

I've never thought about that before. Trees and other plants need some pruning to grow properly and increase vigor. For example, trees need pruning when young to train them so they don't need pruning when mature except to remove dead or damaged limbs. In bonsai, once the basic shape is achieved, the care shifts to maintenance mode.
Since bonsai is forcing a plant into a miniature, that could be considered cruel. But it is an ancient art that is revered and respected.
I would say it is what each individual is comfortable with. If you don't think you will feel comfortable with the pruning and shaping of a bonsai, it might be better to find another hobby.

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