Cherry Tree: Spring Trim, Adding Symbolism [Bonsai]

in bonsai •  last month  (edited)


Here in this article, I share a quick Before-and-After view of a miniature Cherry tree, as I trim it back into a bonsai shape.

Cherry trees usually grow very fast and large, and I have been keeping this tree small by growing it in a container and trimming its roots every year or so.

This tree is a fast grower. Limbs like to extend out in long straight lines before they begin to arch over on their own. Long, slender limbs are easy to flex into new shapes with wire, and later in the year they will become hard wood and retain the given shape.

In early Spring, this is a good time to shorten limbs. Doing so will encourage new stems to form and create new branch divisions. Without trimming the tree, it will eventually look straggly, and possibly lean and tip over. Strategic trimming will create thicker pads of leaves, or even a full canopy.

It is always good to allow a few long, straight limbs to remain on the Cherry tree, in my opinion. Allow it to retain part of its natural shape and beauty so it can be recognized for these iconic traits. Japanese paintings of the classic Cherry tree often showcase these wide sweeping branches providing a blossoming perch for small birds.

Historical Information

ID: 0031
Nickname: George Washington ("Tree of Truth")
Type: Cherry
Age: 3 years
Grown: cutting from branch
Last repotting: March 29, 2020
Wired: Approx. April 15, 2019

Top View


I know the photo quality is not very good. Autofocus isn't all it's cracked up to be when shooting a subject under the shade.

From above, a star shape of branches emanating from the center is visible. The right side is very congested with branches competing for light.

Limbs are growing excessively long and straight. We'll mostly be trimming down these long limbs in this session.

Trimmed, Front View


Here is the tree after trimming.

The left limb has a nice elegance. Sweeping out and downward, and then curling up and back around. It reminds me of the calligraphy used in writing musical symbols, such as the G clef (treble) and F clef (bass).

Certain shapes that spiral out wide, and then accelerate into tighter curves tend to show action and movement. This tree will highlight that kind of shape theory well in its final form.

Inspirational Imagery


Thinking about cherry trees, I was reminded this week about the legend written about George Washington. Ironically, George Washington was a real person, but the fable about truth is a fantasy lie.

The story goes that when young George was given a hatchet as a gift from his father, he went around chopping everything in sight. Initially only chopping small things, eventually he found his father's English Cherry tree and destroyed it.

The father confronted George, knowing what happened, and asked his son to tell him the truth. Remembering his father's moral lessons, George used his better judgement and admitted, "I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree. I promise I will never do it again."

Rather than becoming angry, George's father was so filled with happiness. His son proved to be virtuous when tempted to lie. Even though he lost his prized cherry tree, he was overwhelmed with pride because his son was developing into a person of supremely righteous fiber.

Eventually George Washington, as we know, would become the first president of the United States of America, after leading the country to independence by winning the war against the British.

Trimmed, Top View


Inspired by the myth, I decided to nickname this tree after George Washington. This will be my little "Tree of Truth". Often, I too am a seeker of truth.

I most enjoy uncovering truths hidden in history. Often popular fables in religions are invented to cover up an embarrassing lack of evidence for facts. Knowing why these fanciful tales were spun often unearth's surprising evidence for actual truth. Family histories are frequently filled with tales of ancestors who really have no relationship to the family, or never even existed.

Hidden Symbolism


Over the past year, I've been slowly training the outer limbs to bend around into opposite directions. Getting a perfect opposite spiral has been nearly impossible, but I've come close. Together, they began to form what I thought resembled the Yin-Yang symbol.

My plan is to keep these shapes developing, and perhaps add a third curving branch to fill the forward space. Therefore the symbol would evolve into a trinity.


This has been fun to share my works with everyone.

Check out some of the past articles I wrote featuring this same tree. It can be interesting to view images of how it has evolved from early youth over the years.

Past articles featuring this tree:


Thank you for viewing.



Photos in this post are all #originalworks by @creativetruth, unless stated otherwise.

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#trinity #yin-yang #symbol #truth #hobby #bonsai-wiring #branch #bonsai-pruning #george-washington #legend #symbolism #diy #marlians #illustration #photography


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