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Why You Need To Repot Your Bonsai

Posted by Nursery Tree Wholesalers on

As trees and plants grow in nature, their root systems gradually expand and become larger in order to meet the demand for their ever-increasing need to nutrients and water. The roots have the ability to extend far beyond their own foliage so soak up as much as they need. In bonsai however, and with the bonsai trees for sale from our online, wholesale nursery, the root system is limited to the size of the small pot they are kept in and cannot grow freely as they actually need. While containing the roots helps to ensure that the tree remains miniature, a little more work needs to be put in to maintain a healthy root systems for your bonsai. All of the bonsai trees for sale on our website have been repotted several times throughout their lives, and it is up to you to keep them healthy by doing the same!

As your bonsai tree grows, the roots will also grow with it. Eventually, the root system will fill the container of the pot and become what is known as “pot-bound”. When a bonsai becomes pot-bound, the new feeders roots have not place to grow, the soil structure will break down, and the overall health of the bonsai will begin to suffer. Hence, you do not want your bonsai tree to become pot-bound and you need to repot your tree to avoid this. This fact is lost with many beginners and is often their failing point. After reading this, you will not make the same mistakes that other beginners make!

*The aim of repotting is to provide the root system with new room to grow and to allow fresh nutrients from the new compost to be introduced to the tree.

 A bonsai tree can become pot-bound or root-bound in anywhere from 1 to 5 years, depending on the size of the pot, the species of tree, the age and health of the individual tree. Fast growing species will obviously require more frequent repotting as their root systems will fill the pot relatively quickly. You should inspect the rootball of the bonsai annually in the Spring by gently easing the tree out of its pot to look at the root system. If the root system is still contained within the bonsai soil, you can return the tree to the pot and wait to repot that tree for another year.

Root Pruning 101

When you repot your pot, the roots must be trimmed back, or root-pruned, to reduce the size of the root system so it can fit comfortably back into a pot with new room to grow.  When you do root prune, it will actually increase the density of the root ball of the tree. For example, when you trim root, a number of fine, new roots will sprout for the root tip that was just pruned. So as the root ball is pruned and trimmed repeatedly over the years, the entire root system of the tree will become denser as the tree grows. This allows for the root system to occupy a smaller volume of soil, while still increasing the volume of roots.

Do not be confused though - root pruning is not what dwarfs or miniaturizes your bonsai tree. After you root prune, the bonsai will loose some of its vigour for approximately 6 weeks as it struggles to restore the trimmed root system. However, once the new feeder roots have sprouted in the new soil, the tree will become even more vigorous than before!

Please click here if you would like more information about WHEN to repot your tree.

Please click here if you would like detailed instructions on HOW to repot your tree


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