If you haven’t seen a chojubai Quince in person, their tiny scale may come as a surprise. Leaves are the size of Chinese elm, even Seiju elm. They grow strongly in the summer, and always seem to have a few flowers opening. In the fall, the flower production really picks up and adds some nice color to the bench:
This summer, I noticed this one was becoming a bit anemic, with pale foliage and weak growth. They always seem to slow down vegetative growth in mid summer, but this one started to concern me:
As I thought back, I couldn’t remember repotting it since at least 2014. Michael Hagedorn recommends fall repotting for Chojubai, and while I do not like fall repotting, he really knows his stuff, so I thought I’d give it a try. In late September, I combed out the soil, pruned the roots back by a third and replaced the soil, using akadama, lava, and pumice in equal proportions.
And less than a month later, the color and vigor is already noticeably improved:
Pot quiz: who made it?
Answer: Bigei. Did you get it right? His rich, chocolate, burnished clays are unmistakable.
In the early summer, as the first flush is hardening off, it is good to remove one of each pair of leaves, to let more light into the tree. This promotes back-budding, and keeps interior shoots from dying off.
The trunk is beefing up, even after 12 years in a pot, with annual repotting.
Part of the charm of this cultivar, Chishio Improved, is the bright red new growth. Here is an area that was pruned back a month ago, and new growth is popping out brightly!
Unlike last week’s azalea, this fella is on an annual Repotting cycle. It’s been in straight akadama for the last few years, and the root system is doing very well in it.
I take my time on this tree, combing out the roots carefully, and then hosing out the soil between; repeating the steps several times until the old soil is washed out. It allows me to find and eliminate any of the roots that are growing on the bottom and are trying to get strong. “Planing” the underside of the trunk keeps it spreading out over time.
Wired back in, and planted deep enough to keep those roots growing. One day, it’s going to have a very nice, natural nebari.
This tree has been in a bonsai pot for 13 years now, and while it’s tough to see progress year to year, looking back 10 years shows a different story.