I recently worked on an atlas cedar that hadn’t been repotted in many years. The basic steps are the same as they are for recently repotted trees, but the extent of the work is different. In short, there are far more old roots to be removed.
Here’s the tree.
At a glance, the rootball looks as expected with just a few live root tips.
A few live root tips
The bottom of the rootball suggested a different story. The drainage screen appeared to be two inches above the bottom of the rootball.
Hole that lined up with the drainage screen
The first step was removing the old roots from the bottom of the rootball. It took a bit of work with a root rake before I finally found the old drainage screen.
Old drainage screen
Once I found the screen, I knew I’d reached the previous bottom of the rootball. I removed the rest of the matted roots and switched focus to the top and side of the rootball.
After removing the matted roots
The rootball is now shallow
From here, I removed the upper layer of soil and loosened circling roots. Here’s the rootball before the final trim.
A much smaller rootball
There were enough heavy roots for me to secure the rootball in the pot but I added a few chopsticks to prevent any wobbling.
Tree secured in the pot
Repotting complete – 26″
Considering the extent of the rootwork, I’ll avoid any pruning or wiring for the remainder of the year. Once the tree has regained vigor, it’ll be time for cutback and wiring.
International Bonsai moves online!
After 42 years and an amazing 164 issues, William N. Valavanis has moved International Bonsai online.
The digital version will retain the same format as the printed version so readers will be familiar with the layout. For those who are new to the publication, you’ll find how-to articles from international contributors plus reports from the top bonsai exhibitions around the world.
I’ve been happy to contribute a number of articles over the years, and the current issue features an overview of how to repot bonsai.
Check out the first online-only issue for FREE – the magazine will be available for free going forward – at InternationalBonsaiOnline.com.
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