2019 Prunus Mume vs Japanese Maple repot

I was taught to go easy on Ume roots, and once the large roots are reduced to the point where the tree can sit comfortably in the pot, look at repotting as a soil change. This s quite the opposite of Japanese Maple repots, where each root should be carefully arranged to create the spreading nebari. How does it look? Here are shots of this year’s Ume repot.

Combed out:

Placed back in the 14″ Sam Miller pot, new soil added, straight akadama:

Watered in.

Here is the Japanese Maple repot.

Prepare the pot, an 18.5″ wide, 2″ deep Yamaaki.

It took 30 minutes to get the soil combed out and the roots exposed to this point:

Once they’re combed out to this point, start to remove roots from the bottom, which are growing down or emerging from the bottom. This is absolutely essential to developing the spreading nebari becoming visible from above. Then, using the root hook, comb all remaining roots outward from the center:

View from above:

Then, trim all the way around the perimeter:

Finally, the heavy roots extending at the 6:00 position are shortened:

The tree is positioned back into the pot carefully, and the planting depth is decreased just a little, around 1/8″ to begin exposing a little more of the widening base. This will be evident by the dark ring showing just above the soil surface when repotting is complete. Over time, I will allow this to show more and more. However, doing this too soon will stall out the desirable widening.

Wired in tightly:

All akadama soil used, working into the roots carefully and thoroughly with a chopstick.

Watered in:

Chopped sphagnum moss added to the soil surface to retain a little moisture:

And a few days later…


Corkbark JBP, ‘Hachi-gen’

I’ve had problems with root pests in this tree over the years. Here is a post showing the last round of problems. This year it was time to repot, and I thought I’d check for any signs of trouble while I had it out of the pot.

Guess what? Signs of trouble. Not sure if they are aphids or nymph of something else, but quite a few of the creepy buggers started moving when I set it down onto a white sheet. They’re hard to photograph, but circled below.

So I dunked the tree in a Malathion soak for 30 minutes and cleaned up the pot.

Checking again, and finding no creepy crawlies…

I settled it into the pot, with a coarser mix of pumice, lava, and akadama.

And watered it in.

Shimpaku Styling 6

Picking up where this post left off…


Since I killed off half of the tree, I knew the next repotting would require some time and removing lots of dead roots. And, since this would be an aggressive repotting, I wanted to have a lot of foliage to fuel growth following repotting. So now the tree is full, and it is time to repot. The present pot is about 18″ wide by 4.5″ deep. The new pot, ideally, will be a 14″ wide by 4″ deep round.

Before the work:

The top photo is the original front, and the bottom photo is a front I’m leaning toward. The joy of a round pot…the circle of uncertainty…means any front can be the front.

Ok, unpotted and no doubt there’s work to do. I’m counting on bare-rooting,

Clipping away the dead roots carefully, and making sure all of the fine feeder roots remain intact, I continued to remove all the old soil from under the trunk.

This took about 90 minutes, but I managed to get out all the old soil, even out the roots, and retain just about all the fine roots.

Seems like the new, somewhat smaller pot will work.

I used a rock under the base to help secure it. On the side with the live vein, where all the feeder roots are, I worked in some finer grain akadama to help retain moisture and encourage growth.

The finished product for now:

And watered in…

Later this spring, I’ll unwire it and trim it back in preparation for fall work.