For our 4th installment of Bonsai 101 we learned how to repot (bonsai style) a tree... in this case a Trident Maple. The "book lesson" was about bonsai soil and what each component does.
(Trident maple leaves)
In our case, we started with a container grown maple in normal soil. Taking one of the bamboo chopsticks we made last month, we start removing the soil with quick jabs.
Still working it down. At this point you start seeing the thick stabilizing roots... which get cut off.
This is 'done'. A hairy looking wad of small white roots.
Here I am placing the wires that hold the tree in place. (There's no way the small root mass of a bonsai could hold it in the pot. All bonsai are wired in.)
Still wiring. That is my tree waiting.
Adding the base (coarse) layer of soil.
See how big the pieces are?
Here is the regular potting soil. Looks like a bunch of rock, doesn't it?
Eileen (my bonsai sensei) helping get my tree set down in the pot.
My wired in tree.
Watching others work teaches a lot too.
I'm filling with soil around my wired in tree.
Next step is to firm in the soil.
This is done by taking one of our chopsticks and jamming it all the way in at the side of the pot. Then you pull it back out with a 'jiggling' motion. The soil back fills behind where the chopstick is leaving. You go all the way around the pot doing this.
Once done, it is time to take a bit off the top of the tree. Not too much yet...
This is a handful of the moss mix from last month spread over the top. It will grow in and make a shady barrier for the roots.
Last step... a good watering!