Archive for the ‘Repotting’ Category

New pot for an old Friend   2 comments

This Trident maple has been the subject of many articles here but this time it will get a new pot. Re potting here startes early, like in January. This tree wtill has Christmas ornaments on it from the previous month.

The tree is lifted from the pot and a thick matt of roots are starting to move already. This tree is so vigorous it must be re potted each year as the roots lift the tree from the thin pot.

I remove a full two inch ring from the tree and comb out the roots.


The new pot is from Robert Pressler and Kimura Bonsai in Southern California. It is a sky blue Chinese bag pot. Trying the pot for size. I like it!

Drainage layer.

Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.

Watering it in…

The beauty shot.

At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.

Juniper Winter Work   5 comments

I have worked on many shimpaku and other species juniper over the winter. Many were restyled and re-potted.

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

This first tree is a tree I purchased in 2002. It had been a very beautiful tree but I managed to ruin it over the years. It has escaped death numerous times from spider mite and pinching misfortunes. This is the tree in 2005 after escaping death twice.

Another few years and more rattyness.

A few more years and even less green left.

Left to grow for a few years to get strong and now it may be ready for a restyle….at least with whats left.

Restyled and repotted in a glazed Bunzan.

George Muranaka prostrata.

This tree was purchased in Nov. of 2014. It was left to grow for a couple years and then a first styling was begun.

Cleaned up and put into a first pot.

part of the canopy would be removed and jinned entirely.

Re grow and then style whats left.

George Muranaka Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from George around 2006. Once again it suffered from spider mite and my lack of awareness on how to take good care of the species.

Left to grow and a re style and then a repot. Looks like this now and is growing quite well.

Benny Kim (Kim’s Bonsai) procumbens.

The tree is on the left and purchased in 2002. It had a good trunk about two inches across.

Lots of jins on this one and some carving.

A first styling

Starting to look pretty good.

A new direction for this one. It had started to slump really bad due to the roots giving up on one side. Time to turn it upright.

Done…for now.

Steve DaSilva Procumbens.

These were struck as small plants and wired and twisted up. Planted in a field for a few years and dug up in 2015.

I would use the stock as a demo at the Fresno Home and Garden show in 2016

As it sits today.

Ed Clark Shimapku

This tree came by way of Ed Clark from Bonsai Northwest in Washington State. I kept it for a year making sure it was good for a repot in 2017.

Ready for some work.

It was removed from its growing container and combed out. Root structure was fairly small like most junipers but was rather one sided. I wnted to plant it into a signature Begei pot I had and felt that once planted here it could stay for a while. The one sided root meant it was planted well off center but will be fixed later when new roots go and allow for more diligent root pruning.

Now for the style part.

There is a large looping jin that comes over the top of the tree. The shoot I wish to be the apex is in front of that jin. I need to get it behind.

So…with some praying and bending and pulling I ease the jin around the shoot.

Now I am happy with the position of everything and can start the details.

More pruning and removing everything I don’t want. That should mean I have only the things I do want. Good in theory and poor in practise….

After some wire and manipulation I am able to coex a pretty decent tree out of the aftermath. Next year I will concentrate on managing shoot strength and how to treat possible shari on the trunk….or not!

Mas Ishii Shimpaku

I purchased this tree from Gary Ishii in 2004. Like all my shimpaku I battled the spider mites with fury. Mostly they seem to win but never kill the tree but ruin it for many years till successive cut backs get rid of grey and yellow foliage.

This style took place in 2010 after the tree had recovered for many years. It was planted into a Sarah Rayner shallow glazed bunjin pot.

This winter the tree underwent another re style and pot change. This time into a heavily patinanted Bunjin Begei.

….then the styling

Repotting the Oshio Beni   2 comments

I am getting very excited as the buds are about ready to pop and I want to see what I have in the way of leaves. I did not wish to look at this plant all year long in the 20 gallon nursery container and so I decided to remove it and cut it down and replant it into an old large pot I had laying around. The pot isĀ 28 inches across.

So this is the way it looked when I drug it home.


Started by sawing branches off. This was done back in the fall when I aquired the tree.


This was final pruned product.


Today I started by whacking the shit out of the container. The roots had grown thru the drainage holes and were over an inch thick. No way that bad boy was coming out easy. I got to get all Clint Eastwood on the thing.


Don’t worry…the first thing I did was saw off that root flipping me the bird. I hacked the root ball down to about two thirds waste. What was left is now on the table and all was done by my Japanese chicken cleaver. I wouldn’t trade that thing for anyones wife. Maybe the chick in the Carl’s Junior commercial…but thats it.


So this is the tree all potted up. Now I can relax on this one…I been dreading potting this bugger. The tree stands about 40 inches tall.


Posted February 11, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

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Almost too late   2 comments

I looked over the trees on Friday and had a trip to the coast planned for Sat. The buds on the maples looked good and I felt I had some time to repot. Good…I can go to Santa Cruz on Sat. and repot the maples on Sunday. Got up Sunday and decided they would wait until next weekend. Big Mistake! Never put off to tomorrow what you can do with your lazy ass.

Came home from work today after a 74 degree day after the small rain storm on Friday and Sat. The buds on the tridents had jumped right over the swelling stage and bolted right to the green leaves unfurling stage. No time to lose, move the table into the yard, get the buckets of soil already made and wire for the pot this is “go time”.

The tree was already in a state that need repotting for sure. The tree was pushing the root pad up and out of the pot.


The tree was unwired from the pot and the whole root pad was lifted from the pot. It was thick as the pot and dense and fiberous. The entire rim of the pad was removed from the tree. In past years I have taken this even shorter to the trunk but this year the nebari is finally improving to the point that cutting back too short means getting into larger roots and I don’t want to disturb those yet.


This is how short the pad was made this year. At this point it still has a small layer of soil on top and the pad is full thickness, about 1.5 inches.


I then rake the bottom of the pad to dislodge the roots from the bottom. These are allowed to hang down and then are trimmed flush with the hard bottom of the trunk.


Now the old soil is raked off and the roots teased for the new soil. At this point the root pad is about 3/4 inch thick. The tree is oriented for aesthetics and then placed directly on the bottom of the pot with out soil. It is wired firmly…I mean firmly, so that it will not push away from the pot. I want all the energy of the first growth spurt to be against a hard surface to get maximum girth on the roots around the tree and to swell at the soil line. The tree at this point is starting to get a good flare at the soil trunk transition and this is due to planting directly on the pot and firm tie in of the tree.


The tree is tied and I can pick it up by the trunk and the pot does not move. The tree at this point still has no soil in it. Just a tree and pot. The soil for the whole tree is backfilled around the depression around the edge of the pot. The soil in the roots from the previous season are not washed from the root mass. This allows the new roots to fill the new area with roots while the roots next to the trunk can inarch and graft together to help form the nebari.


The tree is now backfilled and watered in and placed back on the bench. It will be full of leaves by Friday.



Repotting Begins   2 comments

Today marked the beginning of repotting for me. All the deciduous tree will be repotted over the next few weekends. Buds are swelling and if the weather holds they will be pushing over the next few weeks and leaves will be coming out by Feb. 1st.

I still have tridents with green leaves on them. Not much of a winter at all. Get ready for $6.00 heads of lettuce folks!

This year the concentration is on building branches. The primaries have been built and elongation and cutting back will be performed many times on the tree this year. I have decided to place them in training bonsai pots. These are by no means show pots, these are cheap pots I have been purchasing for a couple years to grow out these tridents as they build branches. In some cases the trees may look good in them and sometimes the pots are too small or too large. My reason is simply to slow the trees down. The baskets make coarse growth and now I am more into refining. Last year snails really did a number on all the tridents. All the larger dug from the field tridents were in colanders on the ground and the snails ate the new emerging leaves every night. In some cases branches were ruined and lost and new branches had to be built. I figure I was set back two years with this loss of growth. This year all the tridents will be on the benches with snail bait of the benches and I should be OK. The only thing I have on the ground right now are pines which the snails absolutely hate.

This is one of the dug maples. It is moving in the right direction except that some of the branching was stunted last year. I am convinced that snails have some sort of toxic substance in the trail they leave.


This is the result of last year in the colander. all of the stubs that I cut in half with the cut side down pushed roots all around the exposed cambium edge.


here is a good root that shot right out of the edge of the trunk I flattened with the bandsaw. I treat my tridents pertty rough to move them along quickly.


here is the bottom of the trunk with the large exposed flat cut from the bandsaw. A roll of callus can be seen foring here along the edge.


Here is a good side shot of the roots I cut in half last year. lots of roots emerging from the cut end.


Here is the root pad trimmed back and ready to be planted in the training pot.


here is another I worked on. The small green pot holds another trident sapling that will be used to graft a branch on to this tree. The graft can be seen at the two thirds up the trunk point. The small black tips sticking out are from zip ties used to hold the graft in place and some RV window putty is used in a small sheet to seal the graft. The color is a gray green color which matches maple bark pretty good.


This is what the other maple looked like after potting. Pot is a little large, but I only paid like $25.00 for it at last years swapmeet. I bought five pots at 2013 swapmeet for this part of the growing phase.


I also transplanted the large cork elm in this sporty green and maroon pot. This pot could have been larger, but the depth is about right. Still working on branches on this one and this pot will help slow it down.




Posted January 10, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

Repotting a California juniper   Leave a comment

This tree, Tripper was due to be repotted this season. I felt the tree while growing very well and developing some pretty good foliage prior to the massive devastating squirrel attack would do better in a slightly larger pot. I looked over my pottery and found one I thought would do the job. The squirrels chewed through a large root on the back side of the tree. It was the pipe line that fed the live vein that can be seen at the top of the tree behind the deadwood and then jutting to the right. That is where i cut off the dead portion…sorry no before pic. It is easy to see it had no top.


Here is a shot of the new pot before the repotting. It is slightly larger giving the tree about 10% more room.


I sifted out the Keppler mix for the largest particles. These are around 8mm.


This is a view of the roots. There were some stuck in the drainage holes that broke away during removal of the tree. I still had a 50% improvement over the last time it was repotted.


This is the tree wired into the pot, backfilled with soil and a new top styled into place that only needs to grow now. If the squirrels will stay away I should be able to restyle the tree again next year and define the branches better.



Posted March 13, 2014 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

Good news on the growstones   Leave a comment

During the repotting of a California juniper I decided to try planting the tree in a base layer of growstones and topping it with a better looking top layer.




This is where I left off when we last talked. The pot was filled with growstones and then back filled with regular Keppler mix.


This is how the plant had been growing in the container last year. New shoots would emerge only to burn off and turn brown. No further growth would tale place at the terminal. fertilizer would bring on buds and they would shoot only to turn brown and die back.


Even more encouraging is the old adult foliage that never grew is now green on the tips.









Here is a good shot of a stalled tip of adult foliage that never grew, yet new stuff is coming out of quite a few ropes left of that stalled one.


Here is a group with some old brown tips and all the new stuff coming in behind it.





Hopefully in another thirty days I can show this tree with a good new crop of foliage with no brown tips.


Posted March 11, 2014 by California Bonsai Art in Repotting

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