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Topical Times – The things you find in a bonsai pot???

A regular update on the life and times of John Hanby’s Newstead Bonsai Centre……..

Topical Times – The things you find in a bonsai pot???

A couple of weeks ago a customer dropped this large Ficus into the nursery for repotting. On the face of it a fairly simple innocuous little task.

The compost that the tree was in looked horrendous……almost like garden soil and certainly not free draining. Despite this the tree showed good colour and appeared to be healthy apart from lacking some vigour.

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Time to lift the tree out of the pot, it’s not tied in……What the hell is that!!! Hidden in the rootball and covering the whole surface area of the bottom of the pot is a large full size compacted compost sack. Normal drainage is certainly inhibited…..why would you do this?

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Fortunately the sack was not too inter-twined with the roots and could be removed relatively easily. The roots were teased out and most of the garden soil/peat compost was taken away.

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Only a little trimming was required to the roots and then the tree was potted up in a mix based largely on akadama and pumice with a small amount of peat. It certainly looks a lot better now and hopefully should be able to grow more vigorously this year and recover well.

This just goes to show that even when the odds are stacked against it a tree can engage that survival instinct and rise above adversity. I keep thinking I’ve seen everything in bonsai and that nothing could surprise me but you just never know what the next tree will bring before you…….but maybe that’s why this job is so interesting ……and rewarding when you can help a tree along the road to recovery.