Age they say is an illusion and the techniques described in the 'Primer' will help you to add to that illusion, techniques such as Wiring, and Jin & Sharimiki.

Although there are bonsai around with history's going back several hundred years, age in its self is not essential in a bonsai.

So let us look at what gives the impression of age in a tree.

Old trees have massive trunks with taper, and a good root structure at soil level, called 'Nebari'. They also have a well defined branch structure.

A young seedling on a forest floor needs to get as much sunlight as possible to ensure that in time it becomes the biggest tree around, and that its genes are the ones that are passed on. To achieve this it has to position its leaves in such a way that they catch as much of the available sunlight as they can. Consequently its branches grow up towards the light.

The first tree shows a younger set of branches, while the second's branches have lowered over the years.

As the tree matures, and its crown reaches the forest canopy, it is in its interest to restrict the light reaching the forest floor, its branches fill out, and as they get heavier they tend to droop. In the art of bonsai we can give the impression that a tree is much older than it is by wiring its branches downward.

There is no reason to suppose that a bonsai will not last the normal lifespan for that species (the Bristlecone pine of Arizona exceeds 5,000 years).


An  indicator of a mature tree is that it has a well developed crown, as demonstrated by the tree on the right. Young trees put on as much growth as they can at the top of the tree, in an attempt to gain height, and crowd out their rivals. This invariably gives them a slightly conical shape,

Old trees, having reached the desired height, produce as much foliage as possible, providing a large surface for photosynthesis to take place.

Allen. C. Roffey 18:39 11/04/2018