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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bougainvilla emergency transplant

A client brought in a large Bougainvilliea bonsai that was looking really stressed. The branches were long and lanky, with yellowing leaves, dead flowers and foliage dropping off. The soil on the surface was hard and compacted. One look and it was apparent that it needed transplanting. Luckily Bougainvilla is one of the few bonsai we can transplant in the summer (here in Southern California) so I'm not concerned about its ability to recover from this procedure. They are a little touchy about having their roots meessed with and usually respond by dropping foliage, but in a couple of weeks it should be covered with new growth.
First we cut back all the long, lanky branches and cleaned up the dead flowers and dropping foliage. Here is what it looked like at that point:

Here you can see how compacted the soil is:
After taking it out of the pot it was apparent what the problem was: the roots had grown so dense that water couldn't get through and the roots were starting to rot.

(The areas you see with the grainy soil are where the roots grew over the screens covering the bottom of the pot at the last transplant.)
Next I cut off all the rotted roots, cleaned out as much of the compacted soil as possible and was ready to replant.

Then I positioned it it the pot and, using my proprietary bonsai mix, I transplanted into the same pot it was in before.

Then I watered copiously, making sure any fine dust in the soil mix washed out.

For the next week or two the tree will be kept in partial shade; as soon as there are new signs of growth it will be moved into full sun and fertilized.

Here are the tools I used for today's project.

Bottom row from left - bamboo whisk broom, potting trowel, large root cutter, shears, root hook, pliers,wire cutters and chopsticks.
Top row - Bonsai soil mix, screen to cover holes in pot.

I hope you enjoyed today's entry. Please feel free to leave any comments or to suggest future post topics.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    The process of transplanting a bonsai tree is very essential for proper growth of the tree. It should be done as soon we see that branches were long and lanky, with yellowing leaves, dead flowers and foliage dropping off. Thanks for sharing this useful post.