Broken pot and emergency repot


At times It can happen, you think the pot is stable on the bench but a few seconds later your bonsai is on the ground, and what is left of the pot you chose so carefully during winter is a bunch of shards.

  • 4 weeks ago I repotted the tree leaving the rootball untouched, just replacing part of the soil with a new mix
  • 1 week ago the force of gravity, with the support of my lack of attention, made a victim: pot on the ground. After a good spray of water on the roots, I put the tree in the previous pot, slightly smaller, leaving the rootball untouched again, filling the remaining space with new soil and working with the chopsticks

Since the roots have never been cut, just pushed a little to fit the pot, am I still in time to attempt a third repot in a definitive container or should I wait until next spring?

The tree is an Itoigawa juniper.
Thank you,

A number of questions come up, like why most of the rootball was untouched during the initial repot and how many new roots you saw when you repotted last week. Am also curious about the general age and health of the tree and where you live (is the tree growing yet?). A photo could also help.

That said, I’d imagine it’d be safe to repot again unless the tree is really weak or compromised for some reason.

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Thank you Jonas,

The juniper is approx. 30 yrs old, and last season it showed vigorous growth. I decided to go for a repot this year because the tree was in broken-down akadama that was gradually compacting. At the same time I didn’t touch the roots since I wanted the tree to have more room for root-growth in order to push more foliage.
Last week, at the emergency repot, the rootball looked healthy: many light brown roots (no signs of root-rot at all) with a 10% of new roots (vs. tot. rootmass) at the bottom. The tree is located in Southern Europe (temps: min 60F max 72F).

Sure, the picture enclosed was taken 3 weeks ago, before the pot broke, and now the foliage started growing slowly but evenly.

Thanks a lot for your help,

Thanks, Leo - overall the tree looks really healthy. If most of the rootball remained intact during the previous repots, I’d likely proceed with another careful repot to get the tree in the right size pot. I might loosen up a bit of the old soil to ease the transition from old to new soil. I’d also watch the watering carefully - not too much or too little - and be sure to overhead water after repotting as the extra repot may stress the tree a bit.

Am looking forward to seeing the tree growing well in its new container!

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