The use of Tree Labels
The use of tree labels might seem like an obvious one but id like to share some further uses of tree labels which can help with your bonsai practise that you may not have known about. But first what is a tree label? These are little tags that help you identify trees and or work that needs to be done through out the season. They either hang from the tree or can be inserted into the soil with a spike depending on the type you purchase. The tags are made from plastic and have an added UV stabilizer which helps to stop them from breaking down in the sun.
The obvious use for a tree label
The most obvious and well known use for a tree label is so people can identify the type of tree they have, some people will write the species and age on their label while other will just write the species to remind them of what they are working with.
Keeping track of Re-pots
Some people use their labels and tags as a way to know when the tree was last repotted, when the work is done they will write the date on the label and stick it in the tree so they can have a rough idea when that tree might need to be repotted again. Its never a good idea to work off set dates with your bonsai but this can give you an idea of what you might need to have available in terms of soils and re potting supplies.
Tagging trees that are coming up for repotting in spring
This is a great use of the hanging tags, at the start of winter you can walk around and check your trees to see which ones might need to be re-potted in the coming spring. Hang a tag on any tree that needs to be re-potted and you will have a visual representation of the work load and also a constant reminder to have soils available and to make sure that if any tree needs a new pot you have already purchased it before the work needs to commence.
Tagging branches for removal or to allow extra growth
We all know that when we sit down to work on a tree that in the moment we are focused an know exactly what we want from the tree, we are inspired and have a clear vision. But in bonsai most of the work involves multiple steps before we reach a certain goal, If we leave a tree 6 months and come back to it we might have lost that vision for what we were once doing and this can cause the tree to never progress. Tagging areas on the tree and writing on the tag what needs to be done is a good way to constantly remind you to either leave something alone or to remember to do the work. For example some times we need to allow a single branch to grow so we can gain some thickness to balance the taper of the branches, if we don’t tag this and we forget what we are doing chances are we will trim this back and delay that thickening significantly. Another example would be if we have a sacrifice branch, you can tag that branch to remind your self to leave it on till you have achieved your goals with it.
Tagging trees for upcoming jobs
This is more of a general use case but the tags can be used to remind you of any job from up coming preventative pest sprays, to trees that need slip potting, nebari work or anything else in your general practise that you might need to jog your memory with through out the season. As we get more and more trees in our collection it gets harder and harder to remember everything we need to do so a gentle reminder is key to making sure you don’t miss the work other wise you could be setting yourself back a whole growing season.
I hope this short punchy article has helped you understand what the tree labels are all about and what some ideas are for their uses. As always you can get your labels here.