Repotting is a task that every Bonsai enthusiast needs to face keep their loved tree in good health and at the right size, since no one can stop roots from growing. Repotting will need to be handled every year or two or more depending on the age, growing speed of each specific specimen and by the root mass in the pot. Check if the root mass fills the pot; it is a good habit to estimate when your Bonsai needs to be repotted. If you see that your Bonsai has pot bound, it’s time to repot or the tree will suffocate as air circulation and drainage will have been reduced by the roots drastically. To keep your tree healthy, it is important to provide new nutrients derived by fresh soil and to allow new roots to growth. To achieve this goal, we need to act on the root system by reducing part of its mass. I usually remove one centimetre from the top, one from the bottom and one from each side of the root ball with the aim to keep my tree in its original pot. This will allow enough room in the pot for new roots to grow and space for fresh soil, without stressing the tree too much. The common period to repot is usually early spring before the buds start to swell, as this will give enough time for the roots to regenerate while not requiring too much energy for foliage growth. It’s good to protect your tree for about two weeks from direct sunlight, draught and rain while the root system settles. Also, fertilising should be suspended for at least four weeks.
To approach the repotting, you will need the following material:
- A pot
- Pot mesh
- Bonsai wire
- Fresh soil mix
- Root scissor
- Wire cutter
- Jin plier
- Chop stick
Best practise it to prepare the soil mix and the pot before working on the roots (wait for the soil to start to dry as this will make it easier to work on the root mass and the soil attached to it). Fit the meshes to the pot and some wires that you will use to anchor the tree to the pot and put a small layer of soil at the base of the pot.
Now work on your rootball with a chopstick and root scissor, then fit it into the pot, add the remaining soil, tap the angles of the pot to remove air pockets with the mallet, and fasten the tree using the Jin plier to the pot. Lastly, water it. Job done!