Monday, December 17, 2012

How to Repotting Bonsai Trees

The best time of the year to re-pot is spring, when bonsai trees are most active and send out new root and top growth quickly. If a tree is root-bound in the fall, re-potting can be risky. Rather than re-pot  it is better just to add a pad of fresh soil under the root system. Of course, re-potting the plant should be the first thing you do in the spring.
how to re-potting bonsai
Re-potting Bonsai Trees
image source: why-bonsai.com

Prepare the Bonsai to Re-potting


To re-pot  place the bonsai on the work bench, and remove the moss and loose soil from the top of the root system. Use a rake or tweezers to rake across the top, down the sides, and across the bottom, removing old soil. Look at the root system and remove the heavier new roots.

Trimming the roots allows you to re-pot the tree in its original container. Before doing that, wash the pot to remove any remaining roots and debris. You can slip a tree in and out of a clean pot without damage to the root system. If a pot is not clean, the roots will not slip in and out easily and safely. After washing the pot, replace the screen, then add stones and a pad of soil.

The completed tree should be placed in bright light, not direct sun. Shelter it from the wind, which is very drying. Light misting of the foliage is beneficial and cuts down on stress.

Feeding roots develop when they move in search of moisture. Be certain that air has returned to the soil surrounding the root ball by checking daily how quickly moisture has left the soil.



These first watering are very important. The root ball directly beneath the trunk should be allowed to dry out. Roots left dry will callus over and not take in water. On the other hand, too much water will rot the roots. Adding water on top of water is like wrapping the root ball in a wet blanket.

Use the fresh soil and new wire

While you have the plant outside the container, keep the exposed roots moist by misting them. When you place the tree back into the container, spread out the roots on all sides. Be sure to re-pot with a fresh soil mixture, and chopstick the soil into and around the root ball as needed.

If there are wires on the tree, make sure they are not to tight. Do not allow wire to grow into the trunk or branches. Be sure to use wire cutters to cut wire. Do not try to unwind wire, as that can damage the bark. You also run the risk of breaking the branches you have been carefully training. Pinch new growth, not only to refine the tree but also to conserve the tree’s energy.

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