Help! Bonsai bench blown over

Hey team, my bonsai bench blew over in a rough storm last night and 6 trees went down. I just finished repotting season and don’t have any soil left over. Several of the pots lost a significant amount of their soil. I need to protect the roots and so I put basic potting soil in the containers.

Is this the right thing to do?
Once I get more bonsai soil back in stock should I repot or wait a full year?
If I leave the potting soil in the container, will this change watering practices? I assume so given it doesn’t drain as well.

This was a terrible morning. First time I’ve ever had a tree get knocked over…


I would wait until next year to repot since the trees have now seen two upsets. However, it you get more bonsai soil in the near future, I would carefully remove most of the potting soil so at to minimize root disturbance and replace with the bonsai soil.


I would just go out and buy something like pumice or lava, expanded shale, even aquarium pebbles. I would use a brush, chopstick, rake, whatever and remove the potting mix. Just scrape away until you reach roots or your normal mix then fill in and gently chopstick in or just let the substrate settle with each watering. It’s not wrong to use potting mix, just not as easy to keep a tree in a shallow container appropriately watered. So you could leave them as they are now until next spring as well. Good luck with your trees, very sympathetic to your crisis. I’ve had similar experience due to tornado several years ago.

Bonsai on!


I am no expert but I think if you vacuum out the temporary potting soil and add the appropriate soil when you get it and trees are still stable in pot you’ll be ok


i think it depends on the severity of the upset in the container. If your hole chopstick job is destroyed and you have significant "holes"in your root systems there is no use in trying to manage that a whole year imo. If it is “just” the soil on top i would switch the potting soil for suitable aggregate. The potting soil will behave very different to your substrate so watering will be very tricky. As always, jmtc.


@JohnnyO How did it turn out then? What did you do and how are the trees doing?

Not a total disaster @Grif. Secured the benches into the ground with concrete. Lost only one tree…unfortunately it was a beautiful shimpaku that I had put in its first training pot. Lesson learned.

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Glad to hear it wasn’t a total disaster!