Measure equal amounts of sieved potting mix, peat moss, river sand and pea gravel, then mix.
Remove maple from pot, shake off potting mixture, then rub off excess mix with hands.
Trim roots with pointed nose secateurs so they are the same depth as your bonsai pot. Don’t be timid – be brutal.
Fill bonsai pot with your new potting mix, creating a well where you want to put your maple.
Place maple in mix. Tamp down gently. If necessary, hold maple in mix by running bonsai wire around roots and through drainage holes until roots regrow and give your plant stability.
Cover mix with decorative pea gravel.
Water maple in with seaweed solution. Seaweed isn’t a fertiliser, but a root tonic. It’ll reduce transplant shock and stimulate new root growth.
Later, when plant is stable – it won’t wobble when you push it but will resist – remove wire with wire cutters so it doesn’t cut into growing roots.
Keep in shade until roots regrow then sit in part sun/part shade.
If you’re just starting out on keeping your bonsai tree in shape, there are clubs all over Australia that give trimming tips and advice on what tools you need. They also list exhibitions, lectures, workshops and competitions.
Choosing Bonsai pots
- A shallow bonsai pot represents a slice of the landscape that features a majestic tree.
- Choose a pot large enough to accommodate roots and so they can pull up nutrients and water from the soil.
- The shape of the pot should relate to the style of the tree. Straight trunk trees look balanced in a rectangular pot while curved trees look better in an oval, round or round-cornered pot.
- The pot width should be slightly narrower than the spread of the branches. Try these pots from Northcote Pottery (clockwise from top left). Blue oval Izumi 12 x 9 x 5cm, $5.98, 33 x 27 x 10cm, $29.98. White oval Izumi 28 x 22 x 9cm, $17.98. Black rectangular Modan 15 x 11 x 5cm, $8.98, also available in mint. Red rectangle Yama 20 x 14 x 7cm, $13.48; 26 x 19 x 9cm, $20.98; 32 x 26 x 11cm, $29,98. Copper square Izumi 9 x 9 x 5cm, $5.98; 13 x 13 x 7cm, $9.98. Available from Bunnings or visit northcotepottery.com.
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