Hi Mirai and all fellow bonsai enthusiasts,
I joined the community a couple of months ago and have learned so much by all the super informative streams! Ryan and Mirai deserves all the praise there is, that must be said first with this being my first ever post here.
Long story short, I’ve been growing bonsai on and off for about 20 years now, but just a year ago me and my wife finally got our first ever house, including a small garden, so in some ways it’s like I’m just getting started, or at least I’m trying to go from two outdoor trees that I’ve grown and kept on several balconies and a handful of ficus indoor trees to a fuller collection of various species to tend to out in the garden.
That has lead me to a situation where I now have about 15-20 trees/plants in various to-be bonsai stages, and having a family and a regular job, time is short to get everything done and done right. I need to structure my upcoming work for the next season to avoid having some of the trees just waste an entire growing season, growing and advancing but not in the right direction.
Thus, I now have several pre-bonsais that are not yet neither styled nor re-potted, and some that have gotten an initial reduction of branches to various degrees.
What now confuses or puzzles me a bit is the following. With reference to Ryan’s work on the “Christmas tree” in the nursery stock series, he started with styling and then later performed a repot, wherein when he performed the repot he said that styling first was the general and preferred manner, before the coming repot. However, he has also stated that it is good to utilize the fuller canopy of a tree before heavy reduction to get a good root production, which would lead to a repot first being the better way of doing things. As an example of this, if I remember correctly now, there was a rather recent forum Q&A in which Ryan said that some member seemed to have a solid plan by going with a repot first and then wait with styling until the tree responded and showed vigour (I think it was a pinus mugo that was the topic at hand).
Should this be based on individual species? Or the type of tree (elongating etc)? This is where I am a bit confused at the moment, which has led to me not having a good solid plan of work for the next spring… And when I don’t have a plan, I tend to get too passive with actions.
I now have abies nordmanniana, picea abies, pinus mugo and several types of juniper that all fall into the above in various degrees. I also have some other deciduous species that are in the same situation, such as J maple, a burning bush and some hornbeams, but I feel more comfortable with those overall so the question is mostly related to my conifers here.
What am I missing here? Which do you prefer to do first, and why? I’ve gone both routes before, but now I want to fully understand the details and reasoning herein.