Meeting Report – 5 March 2013

Wigston Bonsai Club

After an early warm spell, the weather in the UK has returned to very cold with temperatures, with night time temperatures well below zero and flurries of snow.  While this can make our gardens look pretty,iIt means that we will need to protect the new buds that have been encouraged to swell during the warm spell and also any trees that have already been repotted.   

Meeting Report – 5 March 2013

There was a good turnout of members attending a practical workshop for root pruning and re-potting of mainly deciduous trees that are now waking up from their winter dormant period.

For new members it was their first experience in this maintenance work.  Trees were eased out of their containers and roots teased out to full length to remove old potting medium.  Long roots circling the pot and tap roots are generally reduced by 2/3rds their length, depending on species, age, and container.   Pots are cleaned and mesh put over drainage holes to prevent the potting medium falling out and creating an air gap.  Wires threaded through the drainage holes are used to secure the trees in their pot.  This is to prevent them toppling out of the pots and stops any movement that may damage the new root growth.

The new potting medium is then added and carefully worked into the roots in order to eliminate any air gaps. Good drainage is essential and the potting medium must facilitate water to freely drain away and air to filter down to the roots to encourage growth.  However, air pockets have to be eliminated to keep the medium dense around roots.  After re-potting, water (preferably rainwater) is poured through the potting medium until it runs clear to eliminate any dust and settle the potting medium as well as giving the tree a good drink.

Pictures illustrate the variety of trees members brought to the meeting.  A couple of the deciduous trees, however, had not lost their leaves and may now do so after root trimming.  Members were assisting each other and sharing their knowledge with the more experienced people assisting the novices.  It was a busy and productive evening.


Frank teasing out roots of 30yr old Cotoneaster after removal from its rock.

Carol – a raw novice, is viewing the extent of root growth on a young Chinese Elm purchased from a garden centre. This is her first re-potting experience.

Carol’s first experience of repotting a bonsai after trimming roots

Dave removes moss from roots of 40yr Acer and his 30yr old English Field Maple awaits its 3-yearly root trim

Frank refitting his Cotoneaster Horizontalis back onto its flat rock

Mark’s Larch is securely wired in new pot to develop as a cascade

Ollie’s container being prepared with mesh and tie in wires for repotting of his Deshojo Maple

Elaine’s Yew is re-potted into its display pot ready for styling later this year


Next meeting will be at the normal venue and time on 2 April.  This will be a workshop for re-potting Junipers and pines.  It is also the time for wiring and styling junipers.  Pine styling is done later in the year.  A date will be arranged for members to help Frank lift some of his trees from the ground in his garden and pot up.


Cold snap on it’s way

Just as we thought spring had finally sprung, we have a severe cold snap on the way with hard night frosts forecast over the next few days.

Following on from our repotting workshop just a few days ago, I would recommend to give any newly repotted trees some protection in a frost free shed or greenhouse.