repotting a bonsai tree

Repotting Supplies Guide

A Guide To Bonsai Repotting Supplies

Repotting each year can be a chaotic time if you have a lot of trees to get through, to make this time even more chaotic we react to the trees and the weather with our repotting schedule so having all your supplies prepared to go at the drop of a hat is key as this time can change from year to year. Leaving your purchasing of supplies till the last minute can mean you might miss the optimal opportunity for repotting your tree.
This article will outline the main tools and supplies you will need on hand to repot your collection with ease when the time is right!

Tools And Supplies For Repotting Season


repotting supplies checklist

Bonsai Pots : This seems pretty simple but if your tree is going into a bonsai pot for the first time or you are planning to change the pot of the tree at repotting time then make sure the pot you want is on hand and ready to go at a moments notice. This is especially true if you are having your pots custom made from a ceramicist. Learn about choosing different pots here to help you make a decision.

Soils : This is another obvious one, when repotting or potting up for the first time into refinement we will need to replenish the soils in the pot, having the right soils ready to go is a clear advantage when it comes to repotting. Walk around and check your trees, find out which ones need repotting and figure out what mix each one will require. This will give you a good idea as to which substrates you will need and how much of each.

Root hooks / Rakes : When working on root systems sometime we need a little extra persuasion to get the root system to loosen up, This is where a good rake and hook come in handy to help get the job done. Root hooks are best at breaking up tough spots of compacted soil and root rakes are great for clearing up the surface layer of soil to allow percolation of water and oxygen through the root system again.
Soil Sieves / Scoops : The handling of the soil is much easier with the correct supplies. A good sieve will allow you to not only remove fine dusts that will clog up your drainage holes but they also allow you to separate your substrates in to particles sizes to allow for proper layering. A set of soil scoops makes back filling the bonsai pot a lot easier with less spilled substrate. They are designed in a way that allows you to get the scoop in nice and close to where you are back filling.
Sickles : If you have every tried to remove a root bound tree from a pot you will know that a sickle is a god send! Being able to free up the roots from the edge of the pot with a sickle that is shaped perfectly for the job makes this process so much easier. For such a cheap tool it adds so much value to your re potting tools.

Potting Mesh / Mats : Having your potting mesh on hand is always a good idea to ensure you get those drainage holes covered up, this can often be over looked and can put the brakes on a repot really quick. Without the mesh your risk losing all your substrate out the bottom of the pot and you can also open the pot up to larger pests to get into your root system. Potting mats help make less mess, you can work in the mat and when you are done each corner folds up into a handle to allow you to carry away the mess and dispose of it, or if you are someone who likes to reuse substrate like Kiryu and Pumice this gives you the chance to capture what you removed from the tree and re sieve it later to reuse those substrates.

Root Scissors / Root Cutters : Getting precise clean cuts on your roots can be the difference between a very fast recovery or a tree struggling to recover from the root work. The cleaner a cut the quicker it will heal so ensuring you have a nice set of high quality sharp set of scissors is key. A set of root cutter is the same principle except for larger tap roots or for trees that have unrelenting root systems, getting those larger cuts done nice and clean can mean better success for your trees recovery.

Repotting Education : This is important to know because without the right techniques no matter how good your tools and supplies are the tree will struggle to survive and thrive afterwards. We have a very affordable online repotting course available here.

Bonsai Wire For Anchoring : Getting a freshly repotting tree anchored into the pot is very important to ensure the tree doesn’t move around tearing off any fresh new roots that have grown. We recommend using aluminium wire for this as it stretches, if you forget to remove the wire at a later date and the root system expands the wire will actually stretch, if you use other wires that have a higher tensile strength then it’s the pot that becomes the weak spot and not the wire. Make sure you have a decent amount of the size wire you use for anchoring on hand. This is generally about 2mm wire.
So that is a rough guide to some of the supplies you will want to have on hand ready to repot your bonsai trees this season. As mentioned use the early winter period to get your supplies ready to go for when you trees and weather start to signal its time to start.

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Author : Joshua Hooson

Joshua Hooson is an author and enthusiast of the art of bonsai. He has built his knowledge and understanding of bonsai through a combination of self-experience, lessons learned through hands-on practice, and extensive research. His articles reflect his passion for the subject and offer insights gained through his own personal journey in the world of bonsai. All the information provided in his works is a result of his own experiences and the knowledge he has gained through his studies. He is dedicated to sharing his love of bonsai and helping others grow in their understanding and appreciation of this ancient and beautiful art form.

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