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Ry2Tree2 Bonsai Weblog: When to Repot

Supply Materials: March 2020

          It’s essential to prune roots of their optimum window as a result of if roots are pruned on the unsuitable time, this is likely one of the best methods to kill your bonsai (apart from easy watering neglect). The repotting season is also a imprecise window that adjustments from yr to yr primarily based on the climate, including to the danger of confusion for learners and tree dying. For the bonsai learners on the market, after in the present day you’ll repot with way more confidence that your tree will make a wholesome restoration. For those who’re already a bonsai professional, I put some fairly bonsai photos in that I feel you will discover value scrolling for both means.


1. Optimum Temperatures for Root Restore
2. Swelling Buds
3. Superior Exceptions, Caveats, & Disclaimers
4. Bonsai Bud Gallery

Japanese Maple/Acer palmatum waking up at Elandan Gardens.

When is it protected to repot and root prune a bonsai?

          For the newly inducted bonsai addicts amongst you, it is best to know that it’s usually most secure to prune roots and transplant temperate species of bushes in late winter/early spring. On this superb window, temperatures are heat sufficient for the roots to regrow and restore, however the tree has not begun pushing out of dormancy but with its full enthusiasm. A wholesome tree ought to have saved power from the earlier rising season to make use of for creating new spring development; this saved power will also be put in direction of repairing the foundation system as soon as temperatures are heat sufficient. Issues can come up although in case you wait too lengthy to carry out this operation, as as soon as the tree is absolutely energetic and temperatures are larger, the demand for water is larger as effectively (particularly in summer time), so it turns into extra of a raffle whether or not your bonsai tree can get well from our pruning on the tree’s very important water-collection system (the high-quality root system).

The remainder of the above maple. Collected, styled, carved, and owned by Dan Robinson.

1. Trim roots when low temperatures are above 32°F / 0°C

          The road of “late winter” varies wildly primarily based in your location, local weather, and species. (I will put a number of caveats on the finish of this part for these of you with extra superior aspirations.) The very best actually common recommendation I can provide you is to discover a native bonsai membership and ask them for recommendation. I do not know what it is love to do bonsai in Italy or Japan and even in Jap Washington! However, missing these skilled connections, the widespread thread you can see is that it’s protected to repot your bonsai and trim roots when you count on low temperatures will probably be persistently above 32°F / 0°C. Like leaves, new roots would not have as a lot safety to them and will probably be killed by frozen temperatures. If that occurs to your freshly repotted or freshly collected tree, the tree loses its saved power funding in these new roots and has to start out throughout! You higher hope it has sufficient saved power to strive once more. For this reason outstanding bonsai collectors like Randy Knight or why massive scale seed propagators like Mark Comstock use heated mats beneath their vegetation in some instances. Placing a freshly collected tree on a heated mat that retains the roots above freezing in winter will enable that tree to develop extra roots! Likewise, placing a heated mat beneath your pine seedlings will inform them it’s protected to germinate earlier, which implies your seedlings will make extra progress sooner.

Larch/Larix is waking up!

2. Search for buds swelling and altering colours

          One other theme – verify the buds of your bushes for them to let you know in the event that they’re prepared! I at all times search for my larches and snowdrops to activate first in my backyard earlier than I do know it’s protected to repot – some expertise in your native atmosphere might help you determine when your protected window begins. For any given species, in case you watch the buds in direction of the tip of their dormancy, the buds will start to swell and alter colour when your bonsai is able to be repottedThat is proper earlier than the leaves emerge. However, in case you wait too lengthy after this, you may miss your probability for optimum restoration!

Full view of Dan’s seed-grown larch (discover that it’s rising within the floor to hurry up trunk thickening! A topic for a weblog submit within the close to future.

          Ideally, you’ll do your repotting and root pruning someplace in between the timing of getting temperatures above 32°F / 0°C and when the leaves begin to emerge. This can enable your roots a while to get well earlier than a lot foliar development (and subsequently demand for water) is happening. Though, you probably have extra bushes than you may get to in that point, usually you possibly can push the boundaries of the second guideline and repot a bit after the leaves have already opened up. I am unsure how late is simply too late to repot although, I sort of go by intestine feeling – seeing how a lot new development has occurred already, how scorching the climate is recently, and the way wholesome the tree is general. I requested my buddy Julian Tsai who apprenticed in a bonsai backyard in Japan for a number of years for his ideas on the closing of the repotting window. Julian stated,

“Positively bud swell is mostly the very best time [to repot] and it is a bit late to repot after

leaf break. You get some extra leeway with junipers and it’s attainable to do some

repotting within the fall time on pines but it surely will depend on the climate, well being of the tree,

and nature of the repot.”

Thanks, Julian to your perception! With that preview of the extra superior exceptions, let’s stick with it.

Plum flowers opening up. Some species have flowers that activate earlier than their leaves.
Dan’s flowering plum.

3. Superior exceptions, caveats, variations, and disclaimers:

          Thus far, I have been speaking about recommendation for repotting temperate species that reside outdoor, however our world is numerous and so totally different species and areas of the world have totally different optimum timings for root pruning.

Dan’s well-known “Acer palmatum baobab” or baobab-inspired Japanese Maple.

Creeping hydrangea buds. You’ll be able to see they’ve a protecting layer they’re shedding.
Creeping Hydrangea

Creeping Hydrangea
Korean hornbeam buds
Boxwood buds generally lead with flowers. Sure, flowers on boxwoods are very small and unusual.
Boxwood wants a trim!
Small larch. I feel for a singular pot like this, a smaller, much less highly effective tree is a greater match.
Larix/larch buds
Pines are somewhat trickier to see as they activate later in summer time. the bud within the center is what we’re watching. This tree should have been de-candled too late final yr as these most up-to-date needles (which grew final yr) are a bit shorter than we often intention for.
Daybreak redwood buds.
Daybreak redwood in full.
Mountain hemlock buds not shifting a lot but, however they may quickly.
This mountain hemlock is the primary tree I ever discovered to carve on!
Quaking aspen buds lead with a small flower (inflorescence, technically).

Quaking aspen
Dan’s first bonsai – a mugo pine from nursery materials.
Mugo pine. New pine needles are likely to emerge later in summer time.
Wisteria buds.
Deciduous azaleas can construct up large buds. It is a troublesome species to ramify.
Yamadori rhododendron from southern Oregon’s Klamath mountain area.

Trident maple ~10 years from seed.
The trident maple is shifting!
Hemlock buds tent to show white simply earlier than they open.

A yamadori mountain Hemlock that Dan styled on the NWFGS final yr.

Trident maple in lava rock.

Somewhat carving tease with the buds.
Dwarf rhododendron beforehand featured on my Instagram.
Amur maple.
Apple buds are able to go.

I am nonetheless determining how this digital camera works. I’ve a greater image of this apple bonsai on my Instagram.
The sunshine inexperienced on this azalea is all new leaves. Every little thing is shifting somewhat early this yr.
Gary oak buds
Not the very best backdrop, however I needed to embody this Gary Oak since they’re fairly uncommon in bonsai tradition.

Crabapple buds waking up.
Crabapple in a lava rock.
Apple buds
Apple in a lava rock.

Tall European beech getting air-layered to supply two bushes with all that additional trunk.
European beech buds.
I discovered in my very own backyard that my rose was probably the most desperate to get rising – much more than my larches! Here is what these recent leaves appear like on a rose bonsai.
This rose bonsai was lately acquired by Dan from an area artist who handed away. The branching wants work, but it surely has an awesome trunk to start out with!



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