Bonsai, the art of training trees and shrubs in miniature, requires special equipment. The tools aid in shaping and training bonsai plants. Because of the delicate nature of bonsai plants, plan to use the highest quality tools. Many specialty tools exist for bonsai, but some basics will get you started.
One tool all bonsai enthusiasts need is trimming shears. These shears have blades sharpened with knife edges. The design allows for clean cuts that prevent damage to the stems and roots. Large handles provide plenty of room for your hands to grip and apply pressure for even the largest of branches. Other shears are optional, but helpful in bonsai pruning. Long-handle shears and bud-trimming shears work for hard-to-reach twigs and bud removal. Bud-trimming shears also work well on small, delicate bonsai.
Two types of cutters make quick work of removing large branches to shape your bonsai. A concave branch cutter removes branches at the trunk of the tree. It makes a concave cut into the trunk that will heal flat. The spherical knob cutter leaves similar results as the concave cutters. These work well for initial shaping. The knob cutter is difficult to use in tight spaces and angles because you have to hold it at a right angle to the trunk.
The root hook combs out root tangles when repotting a bonsai. The tool's rounded tip prevents damage to the roots. Use the root hook with a raking motion, pulling it through the root ball. You can use a chopstick or wooden dowel in place of a root hook. Just make sure any substitute tool has rounded ends.
While any wires cutters will work, specially made bonsai wire cutters provide greater precision. The wire cutters shorten the wire used to shape and train bonsai. You also use them to remove the wire after the training period. The specialty wire cutters have a snub nose that allows close access to the trunk and branches. Make sure the cutters have the proper rating to cut through the size of wire you use.