how do i know the age of a bonsai?
maple bonsai

Dear Paolo,

the only sure way to check the true age of a bonsai is to cut the stem, and count the wooden rings that have formed there; It is clear that this method, in addition to destroying your bonsai, is not so simple, since the growth rings of a bonsai are very thin, and it is still difficult to practice this thing even on large trees, unless you know the technique well and know where to look. It is therefore completely impossible to attribute an age to a bonsai, even when the selling price is very high, and would be motivated only by a truthful statement about the real age of the small tree. One method could be to know someone who assures us that he was present at the time of sowing the young plant, but even here, apart from the fact that some bonsai are sold with statements that speak of tens of years (and therefore, it is difficult to find a nice octogenarian who confirms the date of birth of a sapling, and who remembers that day), often bonsai do not come from seeds, but from layering or cuttings. In the case of layering, it is often a technique that is practiced to remove even large branches of already adult trees, which are subsequently cultivated as real trees; a good expert bonsaiist could make a layering similar to an old tree in months, not years.Clear that everything is complicated by the fact that bonsai cultivation aims precisely to give an adult, and ancient appearance to the trees, therefore it becomes very difficult , even for an expert eye, will decide what the true age of a bonsai is, managing to understand which modifications are due to the age of the tree, and which modifications are caused by man, with bonsai techniques, and sometimes with illusory and almost fraudulent techniques.

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