The time has come to put this Tosho Needle Juniper Bonsai into a bonsai pot for the first time. Enough time has passed since any work has been carried out and the tree is very healthy.
Obviously the first job was to remove the tree from the nursery pot. It was jammed in there nice and tight so I knew there'd be plenty of roots.
The tree is so tall and generally big that I needed to work the roots on a low barrow. First inspection of the roots showed very promising results. There were no thick roots and plenty of the fine feeder roots. I deliberately selected a first training pot that would not mean a massive reduction in the root mass to help with the transition from the plastic nursery pot. I want to minimise the shock as much as possible and this first pot is not the forever pot. Further reduction can occur at a future repotting session.
Checking for size. You can see the fine feeder roots.
The tree was then secured into the pot.
Then the mix was added and worked into the pot using a chopstick. The surface was covered with sphagnum moss and thoroughly watered. And ta-da! Done.
I'm really happy with the progress of this Tosho. The pads are starting to form on multiple levels and there is still more work to be done on the shari and deadwood but that will come. For now it's shelter for 3-4 weeks with minimal exposure to the elements then feeding heavily.
When I was out watering the trees this morning I had a closer look at this one and was pleasantly surprised to a heap of new growth and buds starting to appear.
Well it's taken quite some time and a few blood transfusions but the initial first rough styling is done. The main task at this point is to bring down the branches which are all quite thick. So heavy copper wire and guy wires have been used. There was no need for raffia and there were no tears or breaks.
So here's a refresher of where the tree was before any work was done.
And here it is after. There is still a very, very long way to go but it's a great first step. The lowest right hand branch may be removed but my concern is the branch above it on the right side points to the rear of the tree so it will have to wait for the next session.
A lot of the Tosho I've seen have large areas of shari but I'm not sure that will be the case with this tree. I'm not ruling it out but I really like the lower trunk and the flakey bark it has developed.
Time for a rest, good feed and some recovery.
Oh, and one lesson I've learned with the initial styling of a Needle Juniper...wear long sleeves.
Tosho or Needle Juniper Bonsai are not very common in Australia, well not as common as they are in Japan so when I came across this one recently (July 2015) I snapped it up. It's been field grown for 15-20 years by a bonsai professional and is in fantastic health.
Here's how the tree was when purchased.
As it is here it stands approximately 1.3m tall from the soil surface.