Jury Process and Judging

Updated: 12/17/21

The Jury Process

Trees displayed at the Pacific Bonsai Expo will be selected by Bjorn Bjorholm, Ryan Neil, and William N. Valavanis.

The jurors will be selecting the best bonsai among submitted entries. They will not know the names of the trees' owners.

Here are our instructions for the jury.

  1. Identify a slate of 75 trees you would like to nominate for the exhibition
  2. Identify 20 alternates
  3. Score selected trees on a scale of 1-5

The highest scoring 75 trees and 20 alternates will be selected for the exhibition.

We encourage the jurors to follow the guidelines below.


    • The trunk is the most important element of a bonsai, but an impressive trunk with poorly developed branches is not a strong candidate for the exhibit.
    • Among two similar trees, the stronger submission will be the one that best conveys great age.
    • Successful submissions will demonstrate the accrual of time-based techniques.
    • Bonsai containers will be well-suited to the tree in terms of size, color, and style.
        • Traditional two-point, three-point, and shohin displays such as those found at the Kokufu exhibit are welcome.
        • Alternatives to traditional displays are encouraged when they make good use of the six-foot display space and demonstrate thoughtful arrangement of elements.
        • Seasonal display elements are encouraged.
          • Aim to select a broad diversity of sizes, species, and styles.
          • Do not give special considerations to native, or to non-native, species; the intent of the exhibit is to recognize well-crafted bonsai without regard to the region in which a species naturally occurs.
          • Aim to select the strongest possible submissions according to your standards. The exhibit will be a reflection of your values.

            The Judging Process

            Judging will take place on Friday, November 10, 2022 (the day before the Expo opens). Exhibitors in the show will be the sole members of the judging panel. Every exhibitor is eligible to participate and will receive a scorecard listing all trees in the exhibition. Exhibitors will adjudicate the exhibition by entering a score for every tree in the exhibition; incomplete scorecards will not be accepted. The judging sheets will be collected and tallied by the organizers. 

            (Instructions for the judging panel will be posted at a later date.)

            Exhibition Awards
            1. Best in Show - Trophy
            2. Best Large Conifer - $2000
            3. Best Large Deciduous Bonsai - $2000
            4. Best Large Broadleaf Evergreen - $2000
            5. Best Medium - $2000
            6. Best Shohin - $2000

            Sponsorships are available for all awards. Up to 3 sponsors can contribute to each award. To sponsor an award, contact the organizers using the links at the bottom of the page.

            The Best in Show award will be awarded to the highest scoring display among the five category winners.

            For the Best Large Conifer, Deciduous, and Broadleaf Evergreen awards, all display elements will be considered for judging.

            To qualify for the Medium category, no tree in the display will be taller than 18". All display elements will be considered for judging.

            To qualify for the Shohin category, no tree in the display will be taller than 8". All display elements will be considered for judging.

            Award Sponsors

            • Encinal Nursery
            • PT Bonsai: Large Deciduous, sole sponsor