This past weekend I had my first Kaikou School Class which focused on repotting, soils, and fertilizing. I took a lot of helpful notes down and think that I learned a lot. We watched Boon’s repotting video, and I think for now I will be using his techniques going forward as I much like them.
I brought my new JBP to class to work on and while I didn’t expect to repot it, I was hoping for guidance on needle pulling and candle pinching. There is a lot of literature about these techniques out there but I decided since I was going to class, that I could learn these things in person. The first pictures show the tree what it looked like when it was purchased in late March.
First order of business was to go through the tree and eliminate unnecessary growth. There were a few branches cut back because there were some long shoots with growth at the tips. Also, at this point I went through the tree, and where there were more than two buds growing from one spot, I cut to a fork. After this was done, I shortened the candles on the stronger and medium strength shoots, while leaving the candles on the weaker areas. This helps to balance the vigor of the tree by diverting energy from the stronger areas to the weaker areas.
After this was all completed, I did some needle pulling on the tree. Again, to balance the energy I left more needles in the weaker areas and less in the stronger areas. After this was done, I got to the repotting. While it was too late to do any serious root pruning, it was advisable to get this field grown tree’s older soil completely out of the rootball. As you can see in the pictures there were plenty of healthy roots and mycorrhizae which is a good sign. It was also mentioned that because this was a “younger” JBP it would have no problem with this later repotting.
I then prepared the pot by using Boon’s z-clips for tying down the screens. I then put the tie-down wires in, followed by adding a drainage layer. For this I used Growstones, which from what I understand are a newer material that is made from recycled glass. Pretty much the whole class decided to give the Growstones a try. After that, a layer of bonsai soil.
I then tied down the tree using what Boon showed in his video. It almost creates a loop around the entire rootball that is connected by an addtional piece of wire which you pull and twist together. Harder to write up than to show, I unfortunately did not take a pic so you’ll have to watch Boon’s video!
I then put the tree into the pot and tied it in. I should have twisted the tree down a little more, as it is definitely a little high in the pot. Lesson learned for the next time I guess. Still, I like the way it turned out and looking forward to working on this tree over the next few seasons.