In an earlier post, we discussed the pros of cutting back growth rather than pinching the needles back. Now that you have done this, you’ll find that you have a lot of outside growth and not much inside growth. As the needles grow out stronger, the inside foliage will die off or weaken. Rather than let it die on it’s own, it’s okay to cut off some of the inside growth.

The modern method of styling your bonsai tree used by Japanese masters and many American artists is to use the foliage at the ends of the branches when creating pads. To give the impression of inside growth and fullness, you’ll want to wire your branches and give the branch bends in a zig zag fashion to shorten the branch. Doing this will bring all your foliage in closer towards the trunk.

Experiment with cleaning the growth on your branches and leaving the healthy tips to style your tree. You’ll find that by doing so, you’ll have much better control over your styling as well as the ability to manipulate the pads.