Advice on repot of a Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir

I acquired this Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir in the summer of 2017.

I have spent the entire time rebuilding the trees health. The tree has grown a lot of new foliage and the vascular system has expanded.

I would like to repot this spring.

I truly appreciate the advice.


Very nice looking tree. Assuming that the roots are now well developed you should be able to do away with the ‘prop’? When you repot I assume that you will put the tree in the centre of the pot to maximise the asymmetrical aesthetic. See the ceramics primer video to work out what pot you will use. Hope that helps.


What a fantastic tree


To better express my questions.

What are the signs that indicate the tree is ready for the repot?
Should the new bubs be swollen and opening for the repot?
Recommendations of a soil mix for a Douglas Fir in the Chicago area?

I will follow the approach Ryan has show for other yamadori conifers as part of the repot.

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I had to move from a grow box to bonsai container one month ago with a collected Douglas Fir.
My tree was positioned like yours with a large horizontal feeder that was probably in a crevice when collected from the mountain. In order to center the tree in the container I repositioned the tree at a desirable angle and kept all the roots that I found in the pumice/ field soil. The very end of the horizontal feeder would be above the level of the soil line, so I used wet akadama and sphagnum moss to make a wall that enclosed the elevated roots. In order to keep the position and angle it was necessary to place a screw at the base of the tree where the horizontal feeder coursed to the rear. wire across the horizontal feeder kept the tree from falling away from the elevated roots, and the screw tie down keeps it from rebounding or leaning the other way.
I used 1:1:1 akadama pumice lava for soil with larger pumice as an aeration layer.
I have the tree in a protected partial shade and wind protected area with bottom heat to encourage roots, and first water was with a transplant fertilizer like up-start.

The elevated roots are directly behind the trunk in the last two photos. Not an ideal repot, but was necessary because the box was rotting.
Good luck with your adventure. I have learned so much from watching multiple repots on Mirai, I am much more optimistic than I would have been one year ago. :thinking:
The rebar was used to give motion to the trunk and position the apex. I will leave it in place and hope to see the tree put on new growth this spring. Several branches have lost foliage after the work done last April. I would have preferred to wait another year, but the box was falling apart.


This explanation is appreciated. I will watch the repot pot videos over the next few days and make a list of tools and products needed.

A couple questions;
Did you have buds on the tree during the repot? If so, were they swollen or showed new growth?
Did you notice any expansion of the live vein?

Aesthetics question
Did you clean the dead wood?

Thank you.

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Thank you. I have debated about the container. I’ll watch the primer today.

Thank you.

buds on the tips of branches are still bronze and tight. They are just now swelling. There is not deadwood on the trunk so not sure what you mean about expansion of live vein? The entire trunk is alive in my opinion. I live in central Iowa so we are in similar zone. The Douglas fir was wintered outside under decomposed granite and moss with at least 8 to 10 inches of snow cover. The soil and box was frozen when I took it out my shelter. The deadwood was present at collection and the apex was stripped in April 2019, so has not been cleaned. Not a lot of dead wood, but that may change if I lose branches! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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So in looking at my photos to answer your question I realized the work was done 3/17/2020… St Patricks day!! So only in the new container for two weeks, not a month like I thought. My sense of time is distorted because of the isolation from my friends and family. I moved an Itoigawa Shimpaku Juniper from the grow container from Hyperion farms into a ceramic container yesterday. Tons of roots, but the soil was hard as a rock! Much different than the collected material I have become used to. :thinking:

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