When repotting coniferous bonsai growing in nursery soil – typically soil with a lot of organic material – I try to remove all of the soil from a portion of the rootball. How much old soil I remove or bare-root depends on how many roots I find and the overall health of the tree. In the case of the Tsukumo cypress I’m working on, I decided to bare-root about one third of the old soil after reducing the rootball.
Sawara cypress – all of the soil has been removed from almost one third of the rootball
After working on the sides of the rootball, I turned the tree on its side and worked on the bottom.
The bottom of the rootball
I began by combing out the roots with a small rake.
After combing out the roots
I then trimmed the exposed roots, being careful not to place the scissors next to the rootball when I cut. By leaving maybe 1/8″ – 1/4″ of the roots exposed, the roots can nestle themselves into the new soil. As bonsai soil drains much better than nursery soil, new roots will have less trouble sending out new growth.
After trimming the roots
At this point the tree is ready for repotting.
Ready for repotting
I followed a similar procedure for the dwarf sawara cypress below. Here is the tree right before it was planted in a new pot.
Dwarf sawara cypress ready for repotting – details Friday
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