Shohin Acer repot.

8 Mar

This little maple has been happy in this pot for the last 3years the pot I picked up from a nursery in Kinashi it was cheap as it has a chip on the inner rim, so I strategically place moss and know one would know. The tree came from mansai-en 5 years ago. Two problems with the pot, it is to big now to build ramification it has done its job to re grow the apex, it also has a crack in it so has a horrid dud sound when tapped. I don’t want to loose it as I have another tree in mind for it. Here is the tree just before starting.


It had a light autumn prune and been in the Polly greenhouse all winter.
First job is to sort the pot out that it is going into. I had a Walsall pot about right so it was cleaned and mesh fitted, tie wires were put in and I checked to see if it had a better front on this occasion it was marginal.

The old pot has an internal lip so it was stuck fast, I used a knife to cut along one length, and half each side to make removing it easier.

It sounds drastic but all the outer root will be trimmed anyway. Once out the pot we can see the healthy roots have filled the pot.


Next we need to remove the old mesh and anchor wires before getting in with scissors, using a root hook and chopstick we tease out all the outer root and loosen up the base.

After 3years the weeds also need a careful removal to have a fresh start. We need to improve the nebari it is our one in a few year chance so need to think about what we are doing and looking to archive.Top growth we work the whole time down here in the root zone largely is down to the tree, pointing it all in the right direction is the best we can do. All over large root is cut back, and anything on top of other roots removed this will pull out the base improving the nebari.



In the last repot I used a wire loop to pin a root into the right direction.

So after some brushing with a green nylon brush in water we have moved a few roots and got as much as we can flowing in the right direction for future improment.



We have spoken about the outer edge but another very important area is the underside, if you want a good spreading nebari you need to eliminate everything under the trunk as none of this will help you spread the plate. I spent ages cutting up into the trunk last time to achieve this, it has healed better than I could have hoped.



So its time to get it back into the pot, we need to make sure we get rid of all air pockets and with that hole in the bottom we need to make sure it’s filled. I use shohin grade akadama as I believe it promotes finer roots and this in turn gives finer ramification. I don’t use a larger particle drainage layer on deciduous but do on pines.

So the mound in the pot will go into the void and fill the underneath. Insert the tree make sure your placement is correct keeping it off centre we then rotate quarter turns left and right to settle it up into the base and fill those hard to reach areas once this is done we fix the tree in the pot with the wires. Where possible you should avoid getting to close to the trunk keep to the outer edge. Fix down both sides so it can’t move, if a tree can move in its pot it will damage the new tender roots.

Twist the wire and as you twist pull towards you and at the end of the twist go in as it tightens, you won’t be able to pull back at this point it’s job done, trim the end and push down. Start getting some soil around the edge giving a few bangs on the edge of the pot helps settle some in, and then work in with a chopstick try to avoid to much stabbing as this will break up the akadama try to use small rotating motion to push up the akadama then add more and repeat until your happy its in all the nooks and crannies.

As soon as it is done you need to give a good watering, best done with a fine rose, flush as much of the dust through until the water runs clear.
For me at this stage it’s job done as I may use it next week at the club show, but normally I chop up sphagnum fine and put a layer over the surface to conserve moisture and protect the upper root level.

Remember all that work leaves the tree in a weakened state so it will need some protection while it gathers its energy.
Thank you for reading the way I go about my maple repotting, I will do another update on the tree with spring pruning when the time is right.

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