Sunday, 22 March 2015

repotting - day 2

Following on from yesterday we carried on this morning with the bonsai work.

Main job of the day was to repot the juniper I took to a Mark Noelanders workshop last year. It was a leaning / slanting tree that I was never totally convinced by - hence taking it to the workshop.

It was the first time I'd worked with Mark and it was the right choice as I'd looked at the tree for too long to see a different style but he instantly wanted it far more upright and tilted forward. We did the usual and put the pot on wedges to do a first styling and, upon getting home I kept the tree propped up at the preferred angle until re-potting time was here.

This tree has a funny history really - selected in Japan by Danny Use of Ginko Bonsai Center it arrived potted like this.........................

The tree was sold to Newstead Bonsai Center in the Uk and restyled like this....................

 This is the 2010 Newstead show

I bought it like this...........................

and did a rather un-adventurous styling  like this - I did re-pot to tilt the tree forward so we could see more trunk width and a nicer view of the deadwood / live vein. This was the design we took the tree to the Welsh National bonsai show with. 

After this I let the tree grow, Peter Warren gave it a good thin out one day and I just spent a couple of years learning how to stop it flowering (and also what makes the tree flower - bad for junipers if you want to refine them with nice neat foliage) 

Today was repotting meant the root ball was going to change a lot - half of it would be removed at least ...if not it would be mounded up in an ugly lump sticking out of the soil and I hate seeing a bonsai that has had the angle changed look like this. It is a waste of the next few years as you are leaving all the wrong roots on the tree - better to be confident, get as many as possible into the pot at the correct level and cut the rest off - and it is a juniper - they grow so easily from cuttings so loosing half the roots wont make the slightest difference - (you could loose a lot more and the tree would recover ok) 

I had a nice old pot Tokoname sat here empty too

At the back a lot of root tips were cut off and exposed to the air so I covered these with a little fresh sphagnum moss to stop the rest of the tree losing moisture from the cuts

And now the tree can settle until Autumn - the foliage was only rough styled as it was a one day session with lots of socialising but its all in roughtly the right places until the next wiring and styling is due

I smile when I see the tree much closer to where it was when it left Japan all those years ago ! Funny old game this bonsai lark 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Repotting marathon 1

Spring is here - trees are budding out and many are in need of repotting. Some were trees we had last year that were getting difficult to water properly as the root balls compacted and the water started running off. Others were new trees we've got in that were in need of attention, some were trees in the wrong pots and some are customer trees that have come in to be repotted.

The Fagus crenata was in a small unsuitable pot used for import and it was difficult to water last year due to the large spreading plate nebari. I bought a large hawthorn because it was in a very nice japanese blue oval pot that looked a much better option for the beech

The roots are ok, soil is a bit dark and compact so I've washed off as much as possible with a hose

The pot is prepared with mesh, 2.5mm aluminium wires and a soil mix of Akadama, Kiryu and ezo grit. Then a sprinkle of Tibolar fertiliser pellets NPK 4:6:2 are added to sit the tree on..;-)

The tree is balanced on a couple of canes to check position and fit as it saves disturbing the soil and pellets if more pruning is needed - all seems fine so in it goes

The tree has a bit more room and depth to increase vigour   - now it will sit on the shaded side of the garden to recover

Next up a big tree ! Taxus cuspidata that is going to fit into the Aspinal pot in the background

I've been working on this tree 3 or maybe 4 years now and its coming along quite well - the current pot lets me pick it up easily now too. The Ezo grit is a great ingredient for big trees - it is very light so moving the trees is a bit easier.

Next up was a tree bought a few months ago that was in totally the wrong pot. A kashima (or maybe kotohime?)  clump acer in a massive Walsall Ceramics pot - its a lovely pot but not for any acer as it is 6" deep. 

This tree was incredibly heavy to get round onto the benches and once I got it out of the pot it was easy to see why..........pea shingle drainage layer and granite grit with compost. I'm really glad the tree needed repotting straight away as cold wet heavy soil like this is about the worst thing to put a bonsai in.

Now for some epic root reduction !!!!

Heavy woody roots are all cut off and every root growing downwards from under the fused plated underside of the nebari is cut off too. Now we are close to a flat fibrous pad - just a bit more off from all over

Now we have a maple in a proper maple pot

And here is the contrast between the 2 pots

Maples are happy when dry so there is no point making the job harder by using big deep pots and cold wet soil mixes. This tree needs some wiring and pruning soon - I'll give it a week or 2 to settle in though

Along with these I got a big hawthorn, a Rosemary, an Alder and 15 small acer clumps done !!

Hands are frozen now but back to it tomorrow

Rosemary in my first Stone Monkey pot