Branches - Placement

Although rules are as they say there to be broken, understand them before you break them. In bonsai the rule of thirds state's that the first (lowest and biggest) branch should be at about one third of the total height of the tree.It is the trunk that gives the tree its visual strength, and every effort should be made to have at least the bottom two thirds of the height, clear of branches at the front of the tree (see diagram). The branches should be laid out like the spokes of a wheel with some going to the back. This will give the tree 'depth' when you look at it.

Ideally branches should leave the trunk on the outside of a curve, although this may not always be possable.

No two branches should leave the trunk at the same level. This 'handlebar' effect is unnatural looking, if when developing a bonsai your tree has such a fault you should, if a deciduous tree remove one of the branches entirely, or if a conifer consider turning one of them into a Jin or Sharimiki.

Handlebar' branches look unnatural an if left will cause the trunk to swell at their level causing an ugly bulge in the trunk line.

Try to avoid having branches spaced evenly down the trunk.

This looks unnatural, reduce the distance between the branches as you go toward the top of the tree.

Allen. C. Roffey 13:44 02/02/2003