Bonsai garden tools

Hey there!

Welcome to our information on Bonsai garden tools!

So you have a Bonsai, or will have one soon?

You need the right tools to ensure you are equipped for success!

Bonsai garden tools are generally not specifically just for Bonsai. Most are general gardening tools with the exception of a few.

You don't need to rush out and spend a small fortune on specialty tools, instead you need to know which tool you need for specific tasks!

Lets start!

When you look at your Bonsai, try to imagine what you would like to achieve. Make your Bonsai checklist and keep focused on the shape you want to achieve.

First up you will want to use standard gardening tools to trim and cut large branches and trunks. These 'hacking' tasks will provide your tree with it's basic shape and will set it up for fine-tuning.

You will need the following Bonsai garden tools:


• A set of pruners can be purchased at any hardware store.

• You will need pruners for heavy pruning, especially on trees with thicker branches and heavy foliage. Don't use pruners for branches thicker than 2cm though

• Do not twist the pruners or use leverage sideways whilst using pruners. this can twist the blades and twist the area you are pruning, causing damage to both

Branch Loppers

• Branch loppers look similar to pruners but are much heavier

• loppers also have long handles for leverage

• Use loppers on thick roots, branches and trunks over 2cm

Japanese Saws

• Japanese saws are small-handle saws that almost look like an elongated steak knife

• They are a must-have for your Bonsai garden tools!

• As opposed to general saws, Japanese saws cut on a pull-stroke

• Never use excess force, this will damage the blade and teeth

• Avoid using Japanese saws to cut roots. They are mainly for branch cutting

Bow Saws

• Bow saws are used for cutting thicker branches, trunks and roots

• Better to use in early stages of shaping, before fine tuning is required

Bonsai Cutters

• Bonsai cutters have been designed with Bonsai specifically in mind

• Purchase stainless steel ones for strength and longevity

• Perform the tasks conventional tools cannot, particularly around shaping of smaller branches

Branch Splitters

• Use a branch splitter to split a section of branch to promote flexibility for bending, say, before wiring

• Do not bend or twist whilst using them - this will damage the tips and the branch

Root Cutters

• Looks similar to a pair of branch splitters

• Use to cut away thick roots before a repot

• Can use for concave branch cutting

Branch Cutters

• 3 types: Flat Concave, Full Concave & Hybrid

• Use each type to achieve a clean cut close to the trunk

• Flat concave cutters are like normal pruners but achieve a precision finish. Use only for close branch trimming, not as ordinary pruners

• Full concave cutters will cut through the branch and leave a crater in the trunk, like when a dentist removes a tooth. the wound can then be covered with sealant. When the bark heals the surface will be flat with no evidence of a previous branch

• The Hybrid cutter is exactly what the name suggests. a mix of the other two types. For most, this is the obvious choice to buy as it performs both functions in one. They are harder to use though and getting the feel of them can take some getting used to!

Bonsai Scissors

• 2 main types - Long-Handle & Large Handle

• Long-Handle scissors have better leverage and are great for cutting through masses of roots

• Large-Handle scissors are used to cut through twigs and tiny branches. Large handles allow you to force the scissors inside the branch system to trim finer twigs

Leaf Pruners

• Used for pruning dense foliage, like on some species of Maple

• Spring loaded and are twice as fast to use than scissors

• They work like chopsticks joined at the base, only with very sharp tips

Wire Cutters and Pliers

• Cutters are needed for cutting wire to shape your tree

• Pliers are needed to help shape the wire

• Jin pliers can be used to strip bark when making jins

Chisels and Grafting Knives

• Use chisels and grafting knives to create effects, particularly in driftwood

• Specialist Japanese Bonsai chisels are used to create jins and sharis

Power Tools

• You can use smaller angle grinders and rotary cutters to make cuts

The list can get quite long, but, for beginners, generally, there are 5 bonsai garden tools that will see you through:

• Pruners

• Concave Branch Cutters

• Long-Handle Twig Shears

• Root Pruning Shears

• Bonsai Scissors

In keeping our tradition of making things easy we have sourced some tools that you, the potential expert absolutely must have! Just click the pictures to purchase the item. Its that easy!

Leave Bonsai Garden Tools and head back to Bonsai Care!