Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way

Jake Hobson

Do you have some scraggly, overgrown trees or looming bushes you’ve been meaning to trim back? Niwaki, the Japanese equivalent of topiary, is a fun alternative to the simple (often ruthless) trimming most Americans give their bushes. Cloud pruning, the simplest form, follows the contours of a bush’s branches, allowing you to trim the it into a bank of rounded mounds.  Don’t have a mountain to grow gnarled, wind-buffeted and stunted trees? With a few years of patience, plus ropes and bamboo poles, you can great your own artist masterpiece. Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way is packed with information and tips on pruning, plus dozens of great examples from all over Japan.

Below: My first attempt on a neighbor’s bushes.

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