How to properly measure bonsai?

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How to properly measure bonsai?

Post  Poink88 on Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:05 pm

How do you measure bonsai dimensions?

1. Height. Is it measured from top of soil, rim of pot, or from bottom of pot?
2. Base. Do you measure all exposed roots/nebari?
3. Trunk. Where is it measured from? Normal trees are usually measured 4-5 feet above ground level...where is it taken in bonsai? How about irregular shaped trunk? I also see some using the perimeter length (around) rather than diameter. Is it based on front or just the widest?
4. Canopy width. Do you take it from the widest part of based on front width?

Just need to clarify (and for my education) since it seems like everyone is using different things and I am really confused. It is fine when measurements are qualified but sometimes it is not. Thank you.

Poink88
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Re: How to properly measure bonsai?

Post  RKatzin on Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:11 pm

I think you nailed it, everyone records what is relevant to them. If you're getting into keeping an accurate record of a trees progress then the more stats the better. Other than that purpose, I think tapes and calipers prohibit the development of your artistic eye, the ability to see the tree in the tree. That's just me, I like guidelines, as long as they're not to stringently applied. Everyone is different, from strict adherence to totally artistic. Only in show is measurement critcal, down to the gnats ass.LOL

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Re: How to properly measure bonsai?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:13 pm

Poink88 wrote:How do you measure bonsai dimensions?

1. Height. Is it measured from top of soil, rim of pot, or from bottom of pot? From bottom of pot, the total height matters when viewing the Bonsai

2. Base. Do you measure all exposed roots/nebari? Widest spread

3. Trunk. Where is it measured from? Normal trees are usually measured 4-5 feet above ground level...where is it taken in bonsai? How about irregular shaped trunk? I also see some using the perimeter length (around) rather than diameter. Is it based on front or just the widest? Widest point above root spread

4. Canopy width. Do you take it from the widest part of based on front width? Widest part, again we are interested in the total work, especially when setting up a display

All just my opinion, I have't seen it written anywhere.

Just need to clarify (and for my education) since it seems like everyone is using different things and I am really confused. It is fine when measurements are qualified but sometimes it is not. Thank you.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: How to properly measure bonsai?

Post  JimLewis on Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:37 pm

Generally, height is from the rim of the pot. But then you have those trees that are perched on a humping big mound of soil, so from soil level might be better.

Base is measured at soil level and it does NOT include the far-flung outliers of roots. Just the trunk diameter at the base.

Trunk diameter usually is selected by the owner-measurer at the most impressive point. <g> On REAL trees it is Diameter Breast Height, so you could stand a proportionate-sized mudperson beside your tree and measure at her breast height (but don't get slapped). Actually, I don't know whey anyone would measure trunk diameter. Give the other measurements and the viewer should be able to figure it out.

Canopy width would be the widest point from the viewer's (front) standpoint. Again, WHY you'd do this escapes me -- unless you just want to impress.

As Billy says, they're not chipped onto a stone tablet. It is ALWAYS best to state the boundaries of your measurements when you are giving the dimensions of your masterpiece.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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