Update to Barberry (berberis)

This is just an update post for the Royal Burgundy Barberry that I did work on earlier this year. The bonsai responded well to the very harsh top and root pruning that it received almost 2 months ago or so. Below are some follow-up pics.


This is the barberry directly after major top/root pruning and repotting from standard nursery pot to the training pots I use.


This was about 2 weeks after showing signs of foliage and small flowers budding indicating the tree survived the harsh work done to it.

The above 2 photos were used in the first post about the barberry but I wanted to included them again in case you never viewed the first post. The following pics are the most recent and the reason for the update 🙂


As you can see the tree is full of life which is a great relief to me. However this also lets me know that barberry bonsai will require a lot of regular pruning to maintain, but I’m ok with that. As you can see not only did the tree fill with foliage it also grew lots of fresh shoots and several root suckers. Barberry can and are in some areas considered an invasive species since they have the ability to propagate easily by root suckers that end up being a new trunk. Due to this I know in my region that propagating this species without legal consent is a crime. It states right on the front of the nursery tag “Propagating this plant is forbidden by law”! I guess all the clippings are going right in the trash! LOL


New top growth showing signs of a healthy tree. Even the new shoots don’t waste time creating the sharp little thorns its known for. Luckily at this stage they are still soft and flexible so they are not as painful as an older thorn. 


2 new root suckers shooting out. This plant species just does not rest when creating new growth! Do you notice the couple areas that look orange at the base of the trunk? In case you are curious, they are pruning areas from the first time. The cut paste I use is orange. I usually don’t use cut paste however, I will if its in an area that is at soil level. This is because it will be constantly in the “wet zone” and more susceptible to being exposed to not so good stuff like fungus, diseases, pests.


As you can see I removed all the new shoots and root suckers. I also decided that since the tree was this healthy that instead of waiting to later in the year to cut the tree back even more as I stated in the first post, I decided I would do it now while the tree was in the workshop.


Here is the front view after I shortened the tree. The tree has 4 main trunk areas and I cut them back at different heights to give the total tree a full range of depth. The main trunk area is front/left and the tallest. The second trunk area which of course is the second tallest is positioned back/right. The third area is back/center/left and the fourth which is hard to see in the photo because it blends in with area 2 at this angle is the shortest and front/right. At the end of the season and as the tree starts to slowly get ready for winter I will look into wiring the branches and spacing them better to create a much better overall appearance. 


Back view

Can you see the fresh pruning mark? Sure as heck can’t miss the bright yellow dot screaming out loud. As I mentioned before, the live flesh of this barberry is an extremely bright yellow and highly visible. In time as the wounds heal this does fade thankfully. 








Well all that is left is some overall wiring for better spacing/appearance and a good bonsai pot.Oh yeah…………. and the constant pruning of new growth shoots and root suckers!

Thanks again for reading and please feel free to follow my blog at anytime if you are not already a follower 🙂

6 thoughts on “Update to Barberry (berberis)”

    1. Thanks! Typically that’s how they tend to be because of them being sold as low shrubs for commercial landscaping. That’s why when I found the one I got I just had to buy and couldn’t pass on it.

      1. My barberry is small and it looks nothing like yours but I shall post it one of this days for you. I dug it out recently, but it seems to be growing very fast.

      2. Yes I got a lucky find with that one in a discount section at a nursery. Most barberry dont have good single trunks. Not only did I buy 2 more recently but I am acquiring another 5 from my brothers yard he doesn’t want anymore. They are old and very big so should make nice bonsai in the future.

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