Late Summer Repotting experiment

As an experiment to test the viability of repotting in the summer, when leaves aren’t growing, and roots are, I repotted a Japanese Black Pine, and a Japanese Maple. The pine had been in that pot for a few years, and was building a good head of steam. It did not need to be repotted this year, much less in the summer. The Japanese Maple had been repotted this spring, aggressively root-pruned, and I was surprised how little the roots had grown when I unpotted it.

Just for an added degree of difficulty, here is the almanac of weather for the next couple months following the repotting, done on 8/11/19. Nearly every day was over 90 degrees, all the way until 10/5/19; 55 days over 90, 7 days in the 80s, and even a couple days over 100.

One month later, 9/15/19:

Two months later, 10/6/19:

It’s looking pale, but the buds are still doing ok. Here is a comparison of this pine next to another JBP:

4 months later, December 22…winter hue, or trouble? We have had several nights down in the mid-20s f, and none of the pines received protection.

Mid-March 2020. I’m reasonably confident the tree will live. Buds are swelling, but the color is pale:

Compared to another JBP from the same batch of seeds:

Late May, 2020. The dominant candle has failed, and a few other candles are opening.

Compared to the JBP from the same batch of seeds, which was dug from the ground this spring, and essentially bare-rooted. It is clear to me that March is a safer and healthier time to repot JBP:

Likewise, a Japanese Maple which also didn’t need to be repotted, and was, in fact repotted earlier in the spring of 2019:

Root pruned:

Wired in:

Watered in, 8/11/19:








10/27, new growth is promising:

December 1, After leaf-fall:

In Mid-March 2020, after spending all winter on the bench with other J Maples, I was a bit surprised to find this tree was dead…



Late May, 2020. A few shoots have emerged from the trunk. The top half of the trunk is dead, so I lost 2 sections of trunk which had taper and movement.

Conclusion: I will not be doing August repotting again.

Ginkgo pot selection

Just for fun, thought I’d try a few different pots for this 23-year old ginkgo from seed.

The current pot is a vintage Tokoname pot by Heian Kouso. It’s a good quality pot, fitting, but slightly small, and at times maybe a bit bright.

Left to right, yellow vintage Chinese, namako Tokoname by Shuho, unglazed rectangle Tokoname by Sanpo.

I went with the unglazed pot because I like how the strength compliments the trunk, and the unglazed container is more subdued to contrast with the chunky trunk and increasingly busy branch structure. Additionally, the roots grow remarkably strong each year, and this pot is slightly bigger.

Soil added:


And growing just a couple weeks later:

Shoehorning a Trident Maple into a Shohin pot

I have had this tree for close to 20 years now, and this is probably the smallest it’s ever been. Deciding to make it into a “sumo” Shohin later meant challenges to finding a suitable pot because the base had gotten wide. It’s been in this 12″ wide Ino pot for the last few years, which is visually too big. Most Shohin pots are around 6″, which are too small. Fortunately, I found this Ikkou at 7 3/8″, that I thought would work.

The current planting:


I only had to remove a little from the heavy roots to make it work, and I tried to leave some live feeder roots on each cut to prevent dieback.

I also potted it a little deeper this time to encourage fine roots. Over time I can raise the planting depth and expose more flare. For now, here is the result.

Watered in: