Repotting is done for several reasons: to work on and prune the roots, to change and refresh the soil, and to adjust the planting angle. Sometimes all three. Here are a few examples of each.
First up is a “normal” repotting of a Chinese quince, which is pot-bound. All soil is removed, roots are trimmed back, and heavy roots are removed from underneath the base. The tree is secured back into the same pot, and fresh soil is worked in:
This is the time of year that all bonsai growers start to think of repotting, (depending on where you live, of course) Repotting is the one most important thing to get right to keep your babies happy!
Continue reading to see how an expert does it… HERE
I didn’t get around to repotting this one last year, and it was the first time I skipped a year repotting it in probably 15 years, so I wasn’t looking forward to wrestling it free, and working the roots all the way back. However, it was pretty weak last year, and so the roots weren’t too crazy. Here are some shots of the process, which took about 90 minutes.
Pot cleaned and new drainage mesh applied. 3rd generation Yamaaki. I love this pot with this tree, but the clay is developing small chips around the tie down holes, and one foot. The tree may also be ready for the next size up soon. This one is 19″ wide, and a 20″ would work. But the color is fantastic with the fiery red spring foliage.
For one reason or another this year, I haven’t been taking as much care as I would like with my collection of bonsai. Not entirely my fault either, as the weather has been all over the place, what with the heat waves and then torrential rain. Handy, in a way, because they love rainwater.
Some of them need repotting, and I only managed to get to a few which has been nagging me ever since. Repotting is important, especially for the smaller ones as they use up most of the goodness in their soil. This is usually done in the spring, before they start to grow again after the winter hibernation.
Finding the right soil mix has become difficult too, as my usual supplier has run out and shows no sign of restocking. The right soil is important, as free draining is essential. Waterlogged roots will eventually kill the tree.
My great niece found me sniffing the soil of one of my bonsai the other day and wanted to know what I was doing. She probably thought I had lost my marbles, as it must have looked a bit strange. I explained that a healthy bonsai with a good root system and the right soil, would have a very pleasant and distinctive smell, and is a good way of checking you are taking care of it properly.
We have more hot weather to come they say, so I will find out if any of my trees need emergency repotting. If any of them wilt in the heat it will mean their roots have little or no protection from the elements. I don’t want to disturb the roots, not this close to autumn, so will have to replace what soil I can, leaving the roots undisturbed.
Hawthorn: Tree of the Week: Image by Pixabay.com
There have been no new signs of life from the rescued Oakey Dokey yet, but the few leaves he has are still green and healthy. He is probably busy beneath the soil, creating new roots.