After wiring a bonsai into the pot and filling the pot with soil, I’ll usually give the whole a few gentle taps to make sure I did a good job with the chopsticks. A few gentle taps can quickly reveal faulty chopstick work as the soil will quickly settle in neglected areas. I usually tap at least two sides of the pot while securing the base of the tree with my other hand.
Tap a little bit too hard and the soil can pop out of place leaving the tree loosely secured and requiring starting the process all over again.
For the last step, I tamp the soil into place with my hand. Many wonderful and miniature trowels are made for the purpose, but hands can work well too.
Tamping the soil
Is this last bit necessary? Good question. I’ve noticed that when I water after repotting, the soil tends not to move around as much after tamping the soil like this, and for this reason alone I continue to do it.
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Adair Martin says
Where did Boon get his really long tamping trowels? I have a Masakuni one, but it’s small. Boon says it’s ok for shohin, but too small for full sized bonsai.
The light tap on the sides really does work!
Keep up with the great blog!
Jonas Dupuich says
Hi Adair – some came from a gentleman in Japan, and others came from a craftsman in California. Both did this as side projects – I haven’t seen any new ones produced for years.
Rod Murray says
Good on hands. Cheapest instrument in ones tool kit; does the hards work, doesn’t cost the earth, multi tasks and you own them for life. Oh and gentle pot is the best way at potting time. Cheers Rod 😉
Hi jonas. Thanks for the info that you share. I read all of them,every week.
It’s tim here from cape town south africa .
Have you had any success with the seeds? I planted mine on sept 8 . Nothing yet 🙁 jbp and jrp
Anyway ,keep up the good work. Cheers
Jonas Dupuich says
Hi Tim, great to hear from you. No news yet as I’ll be planting the seeds this coming spring (it was getting late in the season). I’d expect yours to pop up any time now – do let me know what happens.
Steve Moore says
I picked up a similar technique from Roy Nagatoshi in ’92. He used a rubber mallet to tap the outside of the pot, all around its circumference, to help settle the soil. A few months later I bought an inexpensive Craftsman mallet: one face plastic, one rubber. Works great!