Friday, November 6, 2009

Bonsai Reborn

Bulging root bound Japanese maple

Well, my dad would be doing back-flips in the Big Bonsai Land in the Sky. His collection of bonsai trees he left me have been neglected for more than 20 years and have become leggy, mis-shaped and root-bound. Over all these years, they have sat in my backyard surviving only by the miracle of the irrigation system on a timer. I lost a few, but 13 of his plants survived over two decades of neglect.

I have finally met a bonsai-master who committed to helping me re-pot, prune and re-shape (and salvage) these poor trees that my dad pampered and raised from little seedlings, some more than 50 years old.

The bonsai-master is Alvin Lee, a friend of a friend, who I met through my cycling circle of friends. He has been raising bonsai trees for more than 25 years. He and two other members of the local bonsai club - Bonsai Sekiyu Kai - came over and spent 4 hours showing me how to repot, prune and reshape the plants.

Three big buckets of various sized potting soil were used

Part of the leggy, mis-shaped and root-bound bonsai collection needing help

Bonsai-masters at work - George Sakurai, Ron Krause, and Alvin Lee

First step is to remove the plant from the pot and remove the old soil. Alvin uses an old wooden chop-stick to pick away the soil.

George picks away the soil

After washing away most of the soil, Alvin trims back the roots. The key is to remove the big roots and retain the little ones. The little roots will eventually generate healthy new roots.

The grove of Japanese maples will have to wait until Feb/Mar before it can be safely repotted

New soil placed into pot and tree ready for repotting

Wire is run through the holes in bottom of pot and wrapped tightly around the base of plant to keep it securely in place

Adding soil mix to top of roots

George positioning plant back into pot. Note wires to be wrapped around base of plant.

Pulling the wires around the roots and securing plant into pot

Assembly line going full bore!

Bonsai Masters - Ron Krause, George Sakurai, and Alvin Lee

Finished product - repotted, pruned and looking good

Another repotted pine

Thanks guys! Now, if I can only keep them alive . . .

1 comment:

dAwN said...

How awesome! you had the professionals come to your home! What a beautiful job they did. My father must have over 100 Bonsai...He is a bit more unconventional in his approach..not training them as much...they still look pretty but a bit unruly..
See you soon..hitting the road today.