So you’ve just received a new bonsai tree for the holidays or picked one up for yourself. You’re probably asking yourself now what.

Aside from watering your tree regularly, you’ll need to learn how to maintain your tree, including pruning and shaping it. In order to so, having the right tools is essential.

The most basic tool you will need is a good shear. This shear should feel good in your hand and be able to make fine cuts in hard to reach places. One of our favorites for beginners is the leaf/twig shear. These shears are narrow enough to be maneuvered in hard to reach locations but strong enough to cut smaller branches on their own.

The 2nd most important tool you’ll need will be a good branch cutter. Branch cutters make cutting thicker branches a cinch. The unique design of the branch cutter helps separate the branch as it’s cutting to make the cut cleaner and with less effort. Any basic branch cutter will work. Just take care to not use it to cut wire as this will damage your tool.

The 3rd tool that is used often but only applies if you decide to wire your tree is a reliable wire cutter. If you don’t plan on bending heavy ranches, you can get use a scissor style wire cutter. These are great for cutting wire sizes from 1.0mm to 3.0mm or the smaller gauge wires. The problem with using a electrician wire cutter is that it is imprecise and does not give good control. You may inadvertently cut the branch you are trying to wire if you are not careful.

Now that you’ve got the right tools, you are ready to design and maintain your tree to its fullest.