Bonsai pot size & Acer Bonsai first repotting: Size does matter.

Today I am reporting this trident maple Acer Buergerianum. hey it’s me it’s me Iqbal Khan, if you have not yet subscribed to mikbonsai then click the subscribe button and hit the bell icon to subscribe and receive notifications as I upload new videos. The tree has been in this same training pot when it arrived couple of years ago it’s an import from Japan and it’s time I repotted it. The pot is too small compared to the size of the tree, the size of the pot in relation to the size of the tree, is to make sure that we are in scale and proportion and the formula is to measure the tree from the top of the pot where it comes out of the soil to the apex and then you take 2/3 of that and that’s the size of your pot at its widest whether it’s oval then you take the maximum width whether it’s circular you take the diameter and if it’s rectangular then the widest side from one end to the other and I have prepared a pot and we will move the tree out of the way and I will bring the pot over.

The pot I have chosen for this tree and have put the mesh at the bottom with hairpin bends which I use and then the anchor wire also have been placed but if you want to learn or see a video on how to prepare the pot in the top right hand corner of the screen is an ” i ” info card for how to prepare a bonsai pot. Click on it and it’ will take you to that video. I have fiddled with the tree back and forth and is quite easy to take out. There it is, its come out quite easily and we’ll put the training path to one side and have a look at the sides and the bottom, and it has roots going right round not only that but also in the training pot there are indentations where the feet are and the roots have actually gone into those spaces as well there is hardly any soil that can be seen.

So I am going to start working at the top using a root rake very very gently and I’ll do that by holding it between my thumb and index finger so if it gets stuck it doesn’t break the roots it just slips through my fingers and I’m going to carry on with this it’ll take quite some time and I’m going to do it very very gently. I will also be bare rooting it and so that’s going to take a little bit of time. it’s a very slow process. I’ve just managed to remove the very top layer of moss and a little bit of soil and I’m still working through it’s taking a long time to get this far. I haven’t completely succeeded in bare rooting it. The roots are very badly tangled up, it’s a big tree in a very small pot. I don’t know how long this tree has been in this pot but we are where we are and I will start sorting it out, again it will take two or three seasons before I can sort the roots out because of what we are starting with and in fact this is a very good reason why it’s a good idea to bare root the trees but you have to be careful as the roots dry out and then the tree is dead.

So have to make sure that the roots are constantly dipped in water or sprayed so that they don’t dry out. I’m going to remove as much of the roots from the bottom as possible and then will to come to the other parts of it. Sort this out for now and what I’ll have to do is repot it not every two years but perhaps every year and that’s the only way I’m going to get these roots sorted. Time doesn’t stop for anyone and it keeps marching and with passage of time comes progress and this bare rooting is a good thing and I’m sure just matter of time that it catches up and becomes a standard. I have given it another blast and cleared more of the soil but I’m now beginning to lose daylight so I’m gonna have to speed up. These are some really thick roots which I’m removing from the bottom and I’m not going to be able to completely bare root it as much as I’ve tried but we’ll have to do the best I can as I said earlier it’ll take a few years before these roots are sorted so I’ll have to repeat this process every year until I’m able to sort the roots out completely.

Now here the roots have gone round the trunk so just pull these off and prune them off. This side, this is quite a large surface root and it’s coming straight out of the trunk I’ll pull the tree up a little bit from the soil and expose more of this and will see how this develops. I’ve removed as much of the roots as I can, do a little bit more and then tidy up and we’ll catch up after that. The tree is ready to go into its pot and I’m going to add grit at the bottom it basically aids drainage and covers up the mesh and then I’m going to top it up with this cat litter. So we’ll place the tree in the pot and I will ease it in on to the soil . I will use these chopsticks to drive the soil into the root ball, well it doesn’t need a great deal, I didn’t completely manage to bare root it but nevertheless fair amount of soil did come off so as I work with the chopsticks its going in quite fast so will carry on with this and we’ll catch up shortly.

I’m at the tail end now just tightening these wires, the anchor wires to secure the tree firmly into the pot that’s nice and tight doesn’t allow the tree to move and I’ve got to be the same from this side so this is basically going across the pot and this was going down the pot, we are done. Now just bury these wires in, in the soil and a little bit more soil I I will add moss to it at some stage but I haven’t got any I’ve got to harvest it. I have it on land that I own in Twickenham. So I’ll be adding the moss at a later date and again the moss is of various types there is some that grows in shade without a Sun and there’s some which only grows in where the Sun shines and for this I will use bit of both because I am going to have it in a semi shade location and I think that should do for now.

Now it is time to give the tree a thorough soaking and there is fair amount of fine dust in the cat litter and on first thorough watering it tends to all come out so fairly quickly and I can already see the water coming out from the bottom and I’ll keep watering it until it runs clear so that’s when the dust is gone. That should do. We’ll take a look at the overall tree Well that’s the tree repotted watered and all it now needs as to be watered normally and it should do very well in the new pot and the new soil and……. and I’ll give it a quick 360 so you can see it from all sides and there we are, Just keep turning it and that’s where we started. That’s all for now, Thanks for watching. This is Iqbal Khan for bonsai in West London, until the next time. and now for the afterthought. They say money can’t buy happiness check this out I bought myself a happy meal.

You dig ! .