The tools used in maintaining bonsai trees are quite similar to general gardening tools. Nevertheless, as bonsais are trimmed and pruned more often than your average garden plant, it is best to get the tools that are specially designed for bonsai maintenance.
There are three types of tools that are commonly used in the care of bonsai trees. There are wiring tools, pruning tools and potting tools. For wiring, you will need to select a wire that is strong enough to shape the branches, yet discreet enough (in terms of color and size) to be not too obvious to the viewer.
You will also need a good pair of wire cutters for wiring. If you are using thick wires, you may need to get short tipped pliers. Otherwise, slim tipped pliers would make the best choice, as they are more maneuverable among the branches and crevices. Although normal pliers would work as well in cutting the pliers, bonsai wire cutters are designed to inflict minimum damage during the cutting process. They are usually smaller, more slender and have sharper edges.
Another type of tools that you will need in the maintenance of bonsai trees is pruning tools. Every bonsai enthusiasts should have at least two types of shears: one for finer branches and one for thicker ones. If you have a large bonsai tree (3 feet and above) you may need to get yourself a pruning saw.
Butterfly shears are one of the most popular forms of pruning tools among bonsai gardeners. They have big rounded blades and are very comfortable to hold. The blades are razor sharp and designed to make clean incisions on branches. Clean incisions are not only more aesthetically pleasing but also enable the plant to heal better, leaving behind little if any scars at all.
For trimming small branches, leaves and tree shoots, you should use a budding shear to do the job. These shears are very small and slender, enabling you to access hard to reach places in the foliage without breaking any branches on the way. If you are starting the hobby on a budget, a good pair of sharp scissors would do the trick as well.
There is also a variety of potting tools. Because most bonsai pots are relatively small, you will need to use a mini soil scoop during the repotting process to avoid damaging the roots. The selection of the right pot will not only greatly enhance the look of the bonsai but also affect the growth and well being of the plant.