Sunday, March 29, 2009

Repotting Lazy

After 5 years or development it is now time to start defining this bonsai. It is spring in Nova Scotia, the tree is nice and healthy and so today Lazy will be getting her new and final pot.

The work begins...

Although a re-potting was not necessary at this time (the tree was not root bound), the roots are plenty and healthy. Therefore to take this tree to the next level it is necessary to re-pot this year.

The roots are gently combed out with a chopstick, starting from the outside and working towards the centre. Some folks choose to use a rake for this procedure, I chose not to in large part due to the finicky natures of "Hinokis". I find that rakes and combs have sharp edges and produce too much damage. Secondly because I use a relatively coarse substrate, the roots untangle easily. Most of the soil can be shaken off the root ball.

The soil finally removed from the root ball. Some of the old soil has remained but I am not worried of this, as my substrate is nearly totally inorganic. I favour this over too much intrusion into the tree's root network.

Checking out for size... perfect!


... as can be seen I do not use a drainage layer. All my bonsais are potted in the same size substrate. I believe the use of a drainage layer to be nothing more than an old wives tale from yesteryear. Although beneficial in the olden days for pots without drainage holes, it is a moot point in bonsai cultivation with our fast, free draining substrate.

... setting the tree in the pot, checking for final position before securing the tree to the pot.

A thin layer of substrate is placed on top and worked into the roots with a chopstick.

... this is carried out several times to fill any voids.

... re-potting complete.

The final front... I could not get the tree exactly situated as I wanted it in the pot. The initial styling for the future design commenced in the summer of '07, where unnecessary branching was removed and the the branches wired/repositioned.

The summer of '08 as the wire had done its job, all wire was removed to provide unrestricted growth. As discussed in "Taming Hinokis..." too much work at once results in a dead tree. Hinokis should never be wired after a re-pot but left to recuperate from the intrusion for at least three months. Lazy will be permitted unimpeded growth over the summer and final styling will take place this fall. The position in the pot allows me several options, but more than likely the selected front will be the main focus and the tree situated correctly on the next re-pot.

I prefer to wire during fall for several reasons: besides the pre-discussed reasons, it permits me to style and trim after a years growth and; wiring in the fall prior to dormancy permits the wire to do its job vice biting in. The growth of Hinokis albeit slow, is still sufficient to necessitate the tree to be rewired in the summer when done during the spring. This is necessary as the branches have not taken on "set", whilst when wired in the fall the branches are set by summer and the wire can be removed without another application.

Once again if the tree requires to be wired this is carried out during the fall and if the tree is not due to be re-potted, will undergo fine tuning and foliage refinement the following spring.

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