BONSAI WORKSHOP II
4LL8 SUMO INTO A 8"DIAMETER POT

 

      Potting a Living Lovable Sumo in a 5"x3"x2" pot is relatively easy as its a complete premium package with 4LL8-S plant,  True Indoor Bonsai Workshop Handbook, 8"Dx2" pot, coarse bottom media, body media, fine top dressing, plastic separator, plastic tie-downs, cultural sheet, and Nutrient Granules.

        Prepare the pot by inserting two ends of the tie-down through one hole and one end each into the other two holes.  Mound the coarse bottom media in the center of the pot, place the plastic separation over the top of the hill,  and add body media around the coarse hill to just cover the plastic separator.  Tamp firm.

        Remove the plant from the pot and loosen any roots on the outside of the root ball.  Loosen coarse bottom media and continue up until you can remove the plastic separator that kept most of the roots in the top half of the pot.  Place all media removed in a tall hill in the pot above the plastic separator as the material can be reused.

        Position the plant high on the hill.  The objective is to plant it high as this will develop a more attractive trunk-root base with the roots becoming exposed over time.  Add more body potting mix to cover any roots and firm the hill.  Notice that the new pot holds about four times the amount of media, but that the plant is really sittting above the pot rim and there will be a large volume of potting mix for the roots to grow into.  This will allow the tree to grow much more vigorously.

        First tie down one side of the root ball.  When using plastic tie-down,  cross one end over the other several times, then pull tight.  Grasp the semi-knotted area and pull up the slack, pull tight again, then knot.  Repeat on the other side.

        Turn pot 50% and taking one end from one side tie and one end from the other side tie,  tie down the root ball on the third side. 

         The tree must be very firmly anchored and not a bit shaky.  Most have a hard time the first few tries.  From this point, use the longest end and go under a nearby tied section and pull back to remove any slack.  Do it again and again and each time you'll get the plant tied down tighter. 

          The goal is to be able to confidently lift the entire pot by lifting up the trunk of the tree.  If the tree does not shake in the pot,  it will be more successful in sending out strong roots.

          Using a spoon, firm down the media in the pot. Tilt the spoon and firm down one side of the spoon head, then tilt the other way and firm down the other side as well as the front of the spoon head.  Repeat and do this all over.  Jiggle the spoon while pressing down to vibrate and settle the media down. 

          Fuku-Bonsai uses a very gravelly mixture and this "settling down" method is recommended over the normal bonsai method which call for jabbing the soil to remove air pockets.  If not done properly, the jabbing will send the fine material down and bring up the coarse particles and this will negatively affect drainage.

          We strongly recommend watering by sitting the pot in a tub of water up to the rim of the pot and allow the water to enter from the bottom holes.  Do this for 30 minutes once per week to get 100% totally saturation of the media and drive out all "old air."

          When you lift the pot out, water will drain out to allow air back into the root ball.  During the week as the water is used up, more air will enter and by the end of the week the pot will be light and its time to water 100% again.  This weekly air and water exchange is what keeps the plants healthy. DO NOT KEEP PLANTS CONSTANTLY WET.  White root tips tell you all is okay. Black rotting roots indicate over-watering.

          If  you were careful and did not lose any roots,  you won't have to prune off too many leaves to off-set root loss.  Remove the oldest leaves (the ones closer to the roots).  Use the spoon and firm up the surface again.

          When potting high to show of the roots in the future,  I like to use a temporary aluminum foil collar to prevent the media in the raised roots from washing out. Take a 4" to 5" wide section, fold it over 1 or 2 times, join the ends, then squash down so the foil protects.

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You are cordially invited to visit the home of True Indoor Bonsai:
FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER &
HAWAII STATE BONSAI REPOSITORY
     17-856 Olaa Road (PO Box 6000), Kurtistown, Hawaii 96760
     Phone (808) 982-9880;  FAX (808) 982-9883
     URL: www.fukubonsai.com;  Email: sale@fukubonsai.com

              Fuku-Bonsai, 2011