Repot and Styling of Larch

The leaf nodes on the larch were already swelling, so I decided to repot it into a real bonsai pot. The first step is to take it out of the existing nursery pot. It was growing in some garden soil, as such, its root system wasn’t very impressive, even though the pot was very big. My guess is that the garden soil didn’t allow sufficient air to penetrate the soil, therefore, the roots didn’t expand as much as it could, compared to growing in bonsai soil in a colander.

Larch Uprooted

Some of the roots were wrapping around the trunk. So I had to cut some of them off. I have to unwrap some of them to ensure they radiate away from the trunk, rather than wrapping the trunk. If I were to leave the roots wrapped around the trunk, as the tree grows the roots would eventually suffocate the tree.

Larch Potted

After some tying down, I was able to position most of the roots reasonably well. The tree still looks very rough.

Larch Before Pruning

A few days later I had some time, so I took the tree in, and started pruning and styling it. This is going to be a formal upright. The upper branches were as thick (if not thicker) than the branches below. Therefore, I have to significantly reduce the foliage on the upper parts of the tree, while leaving significantly more foliage in the lower branches to help thicken the lower branches up. Also, thicker lower branches will contribute to tapering of the trunk.

Larch After Pruning

I also wired up the branches in place. When I wired the pads, I ensure that they are not flat, but are turned slightly towards the front, such that the depth of the branches can be observed from the front. I purposefully left the lower left branch largely untouched. I’m hoping the tree will expend more energy there to make it significantly thicker than the upper branches. Once it has reached the desired thickness, I will trim off the long sacrificing branch, and only keep what will contribute to the final form of the tree. I am quite impressed with how this tree turned out. Given that I only bought it during the Spring show last year, this is quite an achievement for me.

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