Among the many practices in bonsai growing, bonsai repotting should be done with utmost care. As such, it might need some experience getting it right. So, what happens if it is your first time? As a beginner, you might rush into bonsai repotting as soon as you have your bonsai tree out of the shop. This article sheds light on how to go about this issue.
The sole reason of bonsai repotting is to prevent your bonsai tree from becoming root bound subsequently starving it to death. By repotting, you give your plant the freedom of growing in a small pot without having to reduce the size of the tree. As previously mentioned, it is one of the most important – besides watering – processes that are more often than not misunderstood by many first-timers. For this reason, many bonsai artists find it challenging carrying out repotting all by themselves. On the contrary, it needn’t be as challenging.
Early spring is the best time to carry out bonsai repotting, considering the favourable weather conditions during this time. Before you settle down to the actual act of repotting, it is crucial that you have everything you need for the exercise on hand. Select the tree that needs repotting. Prepare the equipment and items that will be needed: soil, mesh, tools, cover stones or gravel. By preparing beforehand, you will prevent the roots from drying.
For best results, bonsai repotting should be done every two to three years. Repotting sooner or later will only result in a poorly developed rooting system that leads to drying up of the bonsai. Delaying repotting will result into the yellowing of the leaves and loss of vigor. Successful repotting will leave your bonsai healthy and prepare the same for the next repotting.
In a healthy bonsai tree, the root ball should have developed into a solid mass of soil and root that lifts from the pot with ease. If the edge of your pot cuts inwards by design, you will need to run a blade around the edge to free the root ball. Take caution not to make unnecessary severing. Once the root ball is out, remove pieces of mesh that might have been embedded in the roots. If your bonsai is healthy, you should be able to see new healthy roots by the mesh. New healthy roots mean it is the appropriate time for bonsai repotting.
While at it, check for root rot that might have been caused by bugs or wet areas. A common bug that infests many species is the mealy bug. Rotting can also be used as an indicator of poor drainage in your pot. If this is the case and you are absolutely sure there is no bug infestation, check for pockets where water might sit or undersized or blocked holes. Use a root hook to remove a third of root mass from the outside of the ball. Carefully trim away excess or damaged roots using sharp scissors. Replace old soil with fresh bonsai soil.
Bonsai repotting leaves your plant healthy. It can also cause drying up if not accurately done. After repotting, it is recommended that you place your bonsai in a shade for a few days. Use the cover stones to preserve moisture content of the fresh soil. Repotting could be the only thing that might save your dying bonsai. Take action today.