Best reference for general schedule of major tasks

I am looking for a website, book, Or some other bit of information that gives you general schedule of when to perform major tasks throughout the year. I realize that list could be infinite but looking for something that says best time for wiring, pruning, reporting, etc. for several species or general types, tropicals, deciduous, conifers. I’m a planner and want to be able to lay out what work is needed when so I can do it at ideal times. Thanks for all your help!

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@jjenk321 see the following thread. Hope you find it helpful.

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I don’t have a general schedule to give you but I’ll share my approach, it’s not the fastest but at least it’s worked well for me. Every time I have a new species or a tree in a new genre I try to watch all the videos available on Mirai Live and while I watch I take notes and then, over time, I’ve created a schedule based on that.

The basic structure for my spreadsheet is the following:

  1. For each species or genre (for example deciduous or short needle single flush pines) I have three categories: Structural, Secondary scaffolding and Refinement
    Because what you want to do and when depends on what state your tree is in.
  2. I have divided the year as follows: Early spring, Late spring, Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Late fall and Winter
    I’ve also made notes what triggers each season, for example, Early spring = bud push, Mid summer = summer dormancy as the exact time a species is in a given season can vary.
  3. In each cell I then write down what can be done for that species at that time of year. I also note what said action does for the tree and its development and finally make a note of any possible “side effects” and dependencies to prior actions.
    Again, as an example. for [Short needle single flush pines in Secondary scaffolding stage] in [Early spring (bud push)] I have written: “Prune secondary branches (fix structural flaws), note that spring pruning causes longer needles.”

In the beginning, at least for me, the torrent of information and what sometimes seemed like contradicting advice felt overwhelming. What really has helped me get a better grasp of what to do when was to have the three categories of development (structural, secondary, refinement) and pay attention for which category the action/timing applies.

My spreadsheet is a constant work in progress, every time I watch a new stream I cross check my schedule to see if it contains the information Ryan is giving and if needed I add/remove/modify/clarify the spreadsheet.

Lastly, at the top of the spreadsheet in big bold letters I have the all important question: What are you trying to accomplish? to always remind myself to ask that question and have a clear reason for doing whatever I’m planning on doing.


Here is a second major quote “I have enough to sustain … and add!”


So true! Ryan’s been able to ingrain this so deep in my brain, that I would never even think of doing work on trees that aren’t really healthy and ready for the work I’m planning on doing.

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Great idea. Thank you for the wisdom.

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You’re most welcome!

I firmly believe that if you create your own schedule and put in the effort to understand why things are done during a specific time you’ll greatly improve. And it helps you figure out what to do in new situations because you understand the reasoning behind the timing for each action. What’s more, you’ll probably remember things a lot better and won’t need the schedule any more :wink:

Honestly, this is probably one of the pinnacle nuggets of wisdom I’ve gained from Ryan. This coupled with “what are you trying to accomplish?” drive my bonsai theory.

I say theory because 80% of my trees are still in nursery stock. For me next spring is all about getting plants into pots. The hardest part of this is having the restraint to understand that I need to keep the foliage on the trees to aid in the post-potting recovery process. That will help me transition into “I have enough to sustain and add.”

What’s funny is whenever I work on a tree my inner dialogue turns into Ryan lol.

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I like the spreadsheet idea. I take notes during streams. I have a document for each type of tree.
I break the seasons down by early/late . These can only act as guidelines though. So many nuances. Health of the tree, stage of the tree, how did it respond, etc.

I’m in the same boat as you! Mostly theory and very little practical experience. Non of my trees are in bonsai pots yet, the first few will get their first proper pots next spring but most my material is still years away from a decent pot.

I’ve also been trying to build spreadsheets. I have a workbook for each deciduous, conifer, tropical and broadleaf evergreen. I am trying to build a general calendar on the first tab, the second tab is for common diseases and treatments. Then I am trying to build workbooks with for Ryan’s responses in the Q&A’s. I am way behind but its a work in progress.

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my own (short) experience is that I am also building a sort of calendar, planning the work to be done based on what I observe on trees, take a lot of notes. And when I am facing the tree, I rarely go back to the notes, like if they were there to just give me confidence and give me the kick to start to work. I rarely use them when on the field.


Made an observation yesterday and this seemed like a good place to post it. Three weeks ago I cut back more of my Water Jasmine than I should have. A product of trying to accomplish something I shouldn’t have. Typical “oops” moment lol.

Fortunately the tree is starting to push new growth. It’s a tropical that will be coming indoors, so I’m not worries about it. What’s peculiar is that the new growth is only coming out of one of the node pairs. Buds are near impossible to see, so no telling which side will send a shoot. That will make directional interesting. There are some node pairs that are pushing new growth on both sides, but those seem to be the exception.

Anyway, I guess I’m saying that on top of the seasonal notes that I take I also take notes on tree behavior/reaction as each tree reacts differently.

Hmm, upon closer inspection it seems that it may have an alternating pattern. :grin:

There are books with schedules: Naka’s Bonsai Techniques I and Lynn Perry’s Bonsai Trees and Shrubs. Both are out of print now but can be found on the internet. They are a good starting point but you need to make adjustments for your location. Naka was in CA and Perry in NY. Ryan’s info is more up to date but it can be daunting to try to master it without a print copy to return to again and again.

I am lucky and bought Nakas books before they went out of print so I have them. Thank you for the reminder on that. I will def use them as a reference.