Repotting Bonsai to Change Planting Angle

The first repotting of yamadori bonsai is a pivotal operation. In one operation we can change the pot, planting angle, and front of a bonsai tree. At the same time, we are also improving the root system and soil/substrate composition.

In this video I use several techniques learned from Ryan Neil at Bonsai Mirai in order to change the planting angle, pot and do the first root work, during this critical repotting.

Now it’s time to report this yamadori filled them in an earlier video I asked for your feedback on which pot to go for and with your feedback I think I prefer this pot but I will keep this one ready because having a bit of extra depth might come in handy depending on the shape of the root ball and what we’ve got when we open it up but the wires loose nice and flush he says and there we have our report it’s a really exciting time we potting a bonsai tree by the first time especially a yamadori but it’s important to not get carried away and take it very slowly go very carefully and explore that root system get to know what what its features are and what challenges there are where the main structural roots are or or what have you it’s important to just really just feel your way through it the last thing I want to do is bust in here and damage an important structural roots etc and that’s especially one of the reasons why I like using a chopstick especially for Yama Dori root systems as it’s so forgiving on the roots when you’ve got a hook or a rake it’s very easy to hack into the root system and get carried away and pull apart more than you’d originally intended or more than you would have liked to with the chop stick with a nice point it it parts the roots with the beveled edge it pushes any soil out leaving the roots intact whereas with a hook or a retrace you’re digging in and you run the risk of grabbing too much and yanking it free a nice gentle chop stick is definitely my preferred tool of choice for repotting I’d be really interested to know what you prefer to use for repotting you more of a hook rake or a chopstick user so in this area we’ve revealed a good amount of the structural reading now around the back here we’ve still got quite a deep stroke we’ve got quite a deep in a Bari free zone I’m curious what’s going on down there to see if there’s not some more structural roots further down it’s getting a little bit awkward there at the moment so it might be that we stop exploring the surface roots now and I would just find something yeah that’s a root that’s a root now that I’ve done a more thorough job of revealing the base of the trunk and the roots spread or nebari nothing has changed my mind from the original analysis this is still the angle that I’d like to go for and the front is still going to be somewhere around here so I’ll go ahead and do the repot from here we’ve got some nice structural roots then there are slightly jaunty angles but they’re still giving the impression of a nice nebari we’ve got a nice wide base we also have this nice Deadwood feature to add a bit of character and age to this view and the apex is engaging with the viewer take this wire out nice and flush establish a flat base this is exactly how a very neil teaches how to establishing a passing angle I highly recommend signing up for there I live service this segment really just needs to be as shallow as we possibly can get it [Applause] [Music] if I take off anymore from here I’ll be digging into too much a root so let’s let’s stand the tree up and see where we’re at I’m happy with that at this repotting it might be that we tweak it again at the next repotting for this stage I think we’re good to recap the technique that I’ve learnt from bonsai Mirai we found the angle we wanted we then tip the tree up trying to keep our new angle perpendicular to the work surface and then removed root and soil in that plane to try and establish a new flat base that would give us the desired planting angle make sure we check out bone so I’m arrived for more techniques it’s highly worth the monthly subscription and just to reiterate I pay full price and a fully paid up member I receive no compensation for recommending it I’m just simply that much of a fan okay so now we’ve established the base of the root ball of the right angle let’s just come in a bit and deal with some of this superfluous root that we’ve got up here okay so this thick root doesn’t seem to be important structurally and it’s coming right up in the air so let’s come in and cut that back you also don’t need these pieces so that one there’s coming from down below let’s leave that for the time being again we’ve got a structural piece facing upwards see if we can tease that root away figure out where this one’s coming from just gently so cutting back and where’s this coming from turns out some of the soil now we’ve made some space fairly sure that we don’t need that so we can cut that back here we’ve got a structural loop going out and then back around here let’s see if we can’t figure out what it’s attached to just ease it out a bit more someone’s coming through making out good it’s very carefully pull smart soil away until we can tell what what it’s touched to in this okay let’s fold that one around there okay so that it’s coming from down here just down here coming under this bit see this one goes all the way around here well that’s not ideal this one’s coming from down here and goes backwards that’s not ideal we’ve got some fine roots down here to cut back so let’s start the process by removing this so at the moment this is up in the air but we don’t know where it’s coming from so I don’t know how far we want to cut that bit back what’s going on oh okay a structural route that seems to be coming from the trunk here coming down there’s this fine piece of looping over it let’s take that fine piece off so that it doesn’t girdle okay and this is for king nicely that goes down okay let’s cut this one there I can’t get rid of it just jacks it’s still entangled but let’s continue try to make a bit more sense of this side so this the computers coming up we don’t know where it’s going away it’s coming from but I do know that if I cut it a still plenty of route to support the tree and it’s girdling some important roots so let’s come in and take that out the way that’s freed up to create this thickest structural section now that’s brilliant big circling route here content section of feeder is not to force my way through I’ve every bet mostly chopstick that’s done very minimal damage just untangle these are therefore see what’s what so this at the new angle this one’s pointing almost directly up so let’s cut love longer routes they’re cut those back and I think in terms of the plane of the root ball I think we’re just about to do got a nice flat ish root base we’re pretty much at the angle we wanted maybe we lost it just a touch but when we tie it down into the pot I think it’d be better and we’ll be able to let this at the secondary part we’ll do an even better job with the angle right let’s pick a pot then shall we first up we’ve got this green errand pot I like the depth of this one but I don’t think it’s wide enough actually okay and then we’ve got the Walsall [Music] I like the glaze of this pot I think the shape could maybe be a bit more masculine but overall I think the look and feel of the pot works okay better than the green air in I feel I can’t help but feel that the pots just a bit too small actually so what I think I’ll do is I’ll put it into this one because the roots fit nicely and we’ll see how the year progresses it might be that as I reduce the size of the apex a little it starts to look better if I still feel that the next feed bottom then it’s a bit small still Oh play around with it then and I’ll keep my eye out for other pots in the meantime [Music] before I got this tree I’m going to come around the edges free up any of the circling roots the old black soil from the edges and then just prune the roots back a touch where I feel is necessary there’s a nice neat cleanly cut reball quite a significant so getting rid of there okay now with my shears I’m just going to give some nice some nice clean cuts now with the shears any tears to the roots doesn’t heal as well so by giving it a nice clean cut the roots are gonna hear much better that we less die back cows should hopeful form to those cleanly cut ends inclusive just check how we’re doing with the pruning there we go yeah that’s looking good for my tie down strategy I’m gonna use two wires one coming from here to here and the second one coming from here to the same hole let’s take those set up now [Music] come in with my aeration layer which is a slightly larger particle size than the main bulk of than the main bulk of my soil next I’m going to make a central cone and my central cone is going to be quite large for this tree and the reason is occurs and I plant a bit higher than I might than you might normally would with a nice mound we filled that cone up right the tie down strategy is going to be a bit different for this tree I need to get my wires over some structural pieces and to make that easier I’ve got some sticks to guide the way well it’ll enabled me to push the wire through hopefully following those guides there’s my first through it’s gonna be properly awkward but we’ll get there okay that’s the second piece number three is it hard to lose the most Awkward one for lust didn’t I eirick a we looking still central yes house all right go okay let’s get the tree settled down I think we’ve lost a bit of the forward lean and maybe a bit of the angle as well but it’s at a better angle than it was so we might have to improve on it but the next repotting for now though I am happy with that I’m not gonna try and reread it down again now let’s finish this repot get all these routes sorted and then we’ll be good to go unfortunately these tie-down wires and this bit of this bit of rubber is going to be visible when we had done with the routes as they are there’s not a lot I can do to avoid that in terms of tie-down strategy that this iteration so we’re just gonna have to accept it I think we’re in a better position now using these structural routes instead of coming over the trunk as it was potted previously in terms of hiding the tie-downs completely I don’t think we we’re not going to get it at this iteration okay how’s that that’s nice and stable so that’s looking good I’d much rather not have these on show but as it stands it’s unavoidable pinned down this route that really wants to fly away let’s get that pinned down nicely just like so with a small piece of wire I need any skyward straggly roots can just be pruned and now it’s time to get some oil into these void spaces around the perimeter of the root ball okay and then work the Kodama in just to get the bulk of those big spaces filled get some soil work down in to that hollow area there look now that I’ve got the bulk of the gaps filled with soil and they’re coming with my much finer chopstick and really work the soil down in amongst the roots fill in any voids underneath the root ball just like that it’s quite a big space are there some soil piled on top down to the next void coming round just give me a flying test feeling good now I’m just going to come in I’m prayin away the strike list of these strugglers [Music] so the final job left to do is to apply some top dressing moss especially to some of these exposed roots it’s very flaky it’s coming out in bundles some of it’s still moist it’s all bundled up together well that’s okay it’s still gonna do the job right I’ll take it outside water it in and then we’ll have a quick look alright she’s all watered in here comes the 360 degree turn if you’re not subscribed already consider subscribing smash the like button and here comes the 360 degrees I’ll let this tree recover and in the late spring or in the summer I’ll do an update for you thanks for watching and take care

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