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Slip potting out of season – Adam’s Artwork and Bonsai Weblog

Dateline, October 22, 2021. I have to do one thing a couple of shopper’s Conocarpus erectus, a Florida buttonwood.

Tall tree. It was bought from Dragon Tree Bonsai on the East Coast of Florida, in Palm Metropolis just a few years in the past by my shopper. It hasn’t been repotted since he’s had it (partly my fault as my journey schedule has been hectic, partly his, as he’s the proprietor of a rising physique store, an moral one which refuses to make use of substandard elements or permit the insurance coverage firms to solely pay for patchwork. Speaking with him actually opens your eyes to the nook slicing insurance coverage firms, and another physique outlets, will go to, usually in tandem with one another, to save cash. My shopper spends upwards of $40,000 on simply manufacturing facility coaching a 12 months to know what it takes to restore a contemporary automobile in order that it’s not solely cosmetically right, however secure. Right now’s vehicles are constructed to carry out a sure means in a collision, with crumple zones to attenuate power and occupant damage, and to make sure that sensors, airbags, and reinforcement constructions carry out as they’re designed as properly. And he goes to bat, even so far as digital documentation for his shoppers and their attorneys, manufacturing facility specs, et al, in order that if the insurance coverage firm pushes again, the shopper will win the lawsuit, ought to it come to that, in opposition to the insurance coverage firm. I attempt to encompass myself with folks of my shoppers morality. Because of this, he’s a busy man).

Which brings us to the usual for repotting a buttonwood, in Florida, in October. Brief reply: We don’t typically do it presently.

However, trying on the roots:

It wants one thing achieved. They’re pushing the tree out of the pot. My expertise with buttonwood and going by way of a Central Florida winter pot sure, as this one is unquestionably….

….causes me some concern for its well being. The usual process for buttonwood is to solely repot when the nighttime temps are above 70f (22c) for at the very least 6 weeks following a repot. This permits the roots to have time to recuperate earlier than winter onset.

In my expertise, a buttonwood on this form received’t do properly over winter. It may completely drop its leaves (based on the USDA and the U.S. Forestry Service the Conocarpus erectus is taken into account a semi-deciduous tree, in order that’s not such a foul factor, per se, nevertheless it’s liable to shedding branches when it goes dormant, generally vital ones. Not a very good factor for bonsai). And, once more, in my expertise, a buttonwood that goes dormant takes eternally to recuperate in spring. One which’s been repotted in season and labored, pruned, and fertilized, will develop by way of most of our gentle winter, and can begin rising when temps decide again up. I’ve had buttonwoods stall till June, lingering in a senescent state, not pushing any new development and shedding advantageous ramification.

This tree wants some development, now. The leaves are means out on the department suggestions, there’s little again branching, and the leaf shade is off.

Now, to handle a typical query I see about each tree within the on-line boards, right here’s a yellow leaf:

The query is “what’s improper with my tree?” Often accompanied by lamentations and far hand wringing

In case you look as much as the earlier picture, it was an older leaf, about 7-8 leaves in from the develop tip. It’s completely OK for these to be yellow. On any tree, be it a juniper, a ficus, a pine, as a result of it’s simply an older leaf on the brink of fall off. Don’t fear about it. So long as the expansion suggestions aren’t yellowing, the tree is ok. If the yellowing or harm is on new leaves, look to your watering, the solar publicity, when it was fertilized final, and the energy of it, and many others.

Again to our tree…

So what’s knowledgeable bonsai artist to do to verify this tree not solely survives the winter, however thrives?

People who learn the title, they know, for people who didn’t, I’ll slip pot it.

Let’s outline phrases:

Preliminary pot: when eradicating from a develop pot and lowering the roots to suit right into a coaching pot or bonsai pot.

Repot: pruning the roots of a tree in a bonsai pot already.

Up-pot: taking a tree in a develop pot and placing it into a bigger develop pot.

And at last, for this put up, Slip pot: taking a tree already in a bonsai pot and placing it right into a barely bigger bonsai pot.

We normally do that for the well being of the tree, as with this buttonwood.

Right here’s the brand new pot I’m utilizing:

And, as you see, it’s just a little greater than the older pot:

Let’s get to work and cease speaking.

First, weeding.

Ahhh, the dreaded artillery fern. Utilizing my handy-dandy, (and selfmade) root hook-

-which you’ll word is a single tined one (my desire), I loosen the roots of the bigger weeds. Right here’s a video of step one, pulling the weeds, utilizing the hook to loosen the roots. There’s some very satisfying weed pulling footage there:

It’s necessary to get the roots on artillery fern or they simply develop again.

And right here’s a video of the motion I’m utilizing to do away with the smaller weeds. Kinda like hoeing a row in a backyard mattress (for those who search for movies about this method, be sure you don’t commit a Spoonerism and kind in rowing a ho…..that’s a very completely different sort of video).

The soil the tree is in at present is filled with organics. Some consider {that a} buttonwood wants extra natural parts to assist maintain water, as a buttonwood lives naturally in swampy, brackish water-soaked soil simply above the mangrove space of a shoreline. And they’ll develop properly in that space. Many individuals used to consider you need to add salt to the pot too.

However the panorama commerce (and plenty of bonsai practitioners) have proven that buttonwood develop simply advantageous in common potting soil (or customary bonsai soil) and that they don’t want salt. Simply because a tree has tailored for a selected biome, doesn’t imply extra very best situations received’t let the tree develop properly, and even higher. It’s all about studying tips on how to water within the container and soil you’re utilizing. Which, for a buttonwood, means, don’t let it dry out an excessive amount of. If in any respect. And in case your watering means you should add extra natural, or wetter (smaller particles) soil, by all means, go forward and use it. Some folks’s work schedules solely permit for one watering a day. And I’ve seen portulacaria or pines in pure pine bark that did advantageous. It’s mentioned that the toughest factor to find out about bonsai is watering.

We use bonsai soil as a result of it’s extra simply found out in a bonsai pot. Use what’s working for you, however hold an open thoughts to raised soil ideas. Bonsai soil can and infrequently does work finest, however remember that you should alter your watering appropriately. I exploit what I exploit (I’ll break my combine down just a little later within the article) as a result of it really works for my zone, the rainfall, the quantity of solar and shade, and many others. however many bonsai professionals are dogmatic, insisting you employ what they use. That, for my part, is brief sighted at worst, (however properly intentioned), as their expertise had proven them what works for them.

At Dragon Tree Bonsai nursery, they use a heavy natural combine, and that works for them. And has for extra years than hottest present bonsai professionals have been doing bonsai.

The basis ball, as a result of it hasn’t been repotted lately, is compacted and filled with roots. I don’t wish to rake all of them out, as with a full repot, so I’ll be poking holes, finest I can, to assist with drainage and fertilizer penetration.

Utilizing my American Bonsai repotting software…

I push down the place the resistance is least…

And wiggle the software a bit to open up the outlet.

Now, let’s take a look at these circling roots.

A slip potting is actually like an up-potting, or in a panorama, planting a tree within the floor. You are able to do all of it 12 months lengthy, in most locations (besides in a frozen floor up north, until you employ a decide axe, such as you’re taking part in Minecraft). And, if something about planting a tree, you at all times tough up the roots earlier than you stick it within the gap. This helps the roots to develop into the soil and never hold circling across the root ball.

Aha! The previous drain-hole display

Let’s do away with that.

You’ll discover how a lot the roots have grown because the final repot.

As much as my second knuckle.

On the edges, I tease out among the lengthy roots.

And by lengthy I imply lengthy…

If this had been a full repot, I’d take away most of the thicker roots to encourage extra roots, nearer in. However there received’t be a lot root eliminated right now, (necessary in Florida, in October).

Besides what falls off.

The pot. It’s an older Chinese language container. I’m undecided of the stamp, which on a Chinese language pot, normally depicts the town the kiln is in.

If there are two, that normally means the town and the kiln. The quantity is indicative of the Potter that labored on the pot. On this case, Potter #20. The decrease the quantity, the extra superior the potter. Primary can be the man or gal who has been there the longest and is a Grasp. At the very least that’s what I’ve been informed.

We’re relegated to #20 right now. That’s okay, this can be a momentary pot till subsequent June on the earliest.

I’ll mound the soil in the course of the pot in order that once I put the foundation ball down, it’ll fill in any voids within the root mass. Like the place the screens had been.

Then I place the tree within the pot.

And wiggle it into that mound of soil.

Wiggle wiggle.

And, in fact, it will get tied down properly (that’s a type of procedures, very similar to how my shopper follows the producers restore specs) that I insist upon. If I’m engaged on a shopper’s bushes, the very first thing I search for is a strongly tied down tree within the pot. If it’s not safe, I’ll add extra tie down wires.

And now to backfill with recent soil.

My soil combine in the mean time: two elements scoria (lava rock within the vernacular, for drainage, water retention, and air areas), one half expanded slate (The gray stuff, the model right now is Espoma’s Soil Perfector. That is for pure drainage. It holds little to no water contained in the matrices). One half diatomaceous earth (the white stuff, that is for fertilizer retention, referred to as CEC, and water retention), and one half “small” fir bark nuggets (for fertilizer CEC, and water retention). I’d add pumice, as it’s very similar to lava however holds extra water, however there’s a pumice scarcity in Florida in the mean time.

Ensuring to fill all of the air pockets, take your time backfilling the soil.

We do want air area, however not large pockets.

Ensure you’re pushing the soil underneath the foundation ball too. Typically utilizing the blunt finish of your chopstick helps right here.

Wiggling helps right here to, wiggle wiggle wiggle.

Then, my final step, is to tighten the wire on the underside.

Pull down, and twist.

This actually secures the tree.

To get this pic, alone in The Nook, requires some fancy digicam work. Balancing the pot on my massive head.

Have a look at all that gray in my hair. Man I’m getting previous!

Some fertilizer, on this case, granular natural from American Bonsai Instruments.

Mmmmmm….smells like chocolate!

Chopstick it into the soil, as a result of if natural fertilizer isn’t within the soil, it’s not being utilized by useful soil microbes.

And a few pre-emergent weed preventer (I exploit a business model referred to as “OH2” however you employ what you could find, one thing like Preen).

And that’s all for this 12 months on this tree. We are going to let it develop till spring, the place an artificial granular shall be put within the soil after which, the true work can start. The shopper needs some deadwood added to it (very similar to a juniper, a buttonwood seems to be odd with out deadwood).

See you subsequent 12 months, my intrepid little buttonwood!



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