I purchased this at Chikugo-En-en back in July, and Gary Ishii told me it was repotted in December 2018. So I knew it probably wasn’t pot-bound, but the soil was heavy dirt and sand. This probably works well in LA’s dry climate, but here in Birmingham’s humid climate, I wanted to move it to something a bit coarser.
I am a little early in the year to repot, but will not be trimming any roots, nor completely bare-rooting it. I also plan to strike cuttings from this tree to propagate the cultivar, so I am leaving all the foliage intact. I wired a couple branches that were obscuring the trunk, but that’s about it.
Either front requires me to tilt the tree a bit…fortunately the same tilt works for both sides. I haven’t decided on a front yet, but am leaning more to one than the other. (Dad joke)…
Some pot options:
1. Very small Tokoname pot. This size could work as a show pot, but this tree isn’t ready for showing yet.
2. Deep rectangle vintage Japanese pot by Keizan. Great pot with a lot of age and patina. It makes the trunk look awfully small.
3. This Hokido is beautiful, and a bit shallow for growing out. Maybe some day.
4. 3rd Generation Yamaaki drum pot. Good clay and age, good depth. Not a special pot, but suitable for this phase in the tree’s development. Round pots are always good for an undecided front!
Soil combed out and wired in:
New soil worked in:
Front 1 above.
Front 2 below.
Do you have a preference?
I did some work in February, and let it mostly grow wild into October. So we start here:
The tree is one-dimensional, and has a few long branches extending on the back side, and a bald spot in the back left.
Below, my hand is covering the back left branch that needs to be shortened, and the bald spot is visible above my hand:
And the back right branch (this right side is the stronger side, and it’s pretty dense):
It does look ok from the front. However, you can’t limit the viewing angle in a show…
First, cleanup undersides and prune it back a bit. Here is that back left branch, removed:
First phase done:
Next, cleaning up the loose bark with a knife and scrubbed up with a toothbrush:
Soil surface mossed, and pot oiled with baby oil:
Finally, a coat of diluted lime sulfur on the deadwood:
This little air-layer was repotted this year, so I let it grow all year. It grew a bit leggy, because I think it didn’t get enough water! So here it is in late September before any work:
First, unwire and remove old needles:
Next, scrub the trunk to clean it up and remove old bark, then and remove the top layer of old soil:
Close-up, the air-layered base is nice, not always a feature of Shimpakus:
Trim back to bifurcation get shoots. This was challenging on the weaker growth from this growing season:
See some crotch growth and weaker shoots in the mix:
In fact, lots of growth was removed, but the tree still has plenty to work with.
Wired and branches set:
the pads are a little large, and the apex needs to settle in, but not bad for a 5-year old air-layer.
The pot? Shinobu.