Hinoki: should repot or shouldn't I at this time?

Hi folks,

I’m debating here based on some information I have researched around on when repoting Hinoki Cypresses. IIRC the advised time for doing that depends mainly on the season and on the tree’s health (start of spring, when some new light green start showing on top of older darker green foliage.)

I am based in southern California where winter specially this year is been warmer and dryer than usual (or maybe usual lol), but I’m kind of confused if I should proceed on the repotting at this moment or if I should follow strictly what has been told around. Temperatures for this season is ranging from low 50s to hight 70s.

I’m enclosing some pictures of the current state of the trees foliage where we can see what I would consider significant or vigorous growth actually non-stop since last time I worked on it (last years summer).

Anybody with Hinoki experience would have any word of advise if you find is secure to proceed with repotting or postpone until spring?

Thank you guys and its not too late to wish you all happy 2021!

I repotted mine early spring and it didn’t skip a beat. Unless there’s an urgent need, as in a big loss in percolation, I’d wait. Even if that was the case you can create a dam with duct tape.

@Bonsai_Bentley that makes sense. I agree with your view on waiting longer until spring to perform any root work.

Just a brief historic for this tree: I purchased the raw material last year’s summer, then performed some initial styling work. Although I was told this Hinoki has been more than 3 years in the same pot I didn’t believe it, as the percolation is great at this moment. My intention was more about the aesthetic to bring the tree to a bonsai pot as opposed to the plastic nursery pot where is currently planted.

P.S.: wondering how different is the winter weather in SoCal vs Charleston SC. Just checked here, and it seems you guys are experiencing 50s there atm, I thought it would be cooler there in winter, but maybe I’m wrong :slight_smile:

Zone 8b, so the winters are fairly mild here. Every now and then it’ll dip below freezing, but rarely for an extended period of time. Sounds like your hinoki is going through the same progression as mine. I was able to do the repot early spring and then an initial styling in the fall of the same year. My repot wasn’t too drastic though and the tree was super healthy, so I felt pretty comfortable with doing the styling.

It’s looking like it has recovered well too. This spring I may be doing more branch selection and further reduction of some of the branches. If not spring then definitely fall. Idk about yours, but mine in the spring is too delicate to do any bends. Cambium separated from the phloem way too easily.

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Yeah definitely I won’t touch branches in spring time. Depending on how it recovers from spring’s repotting I will follow the same mindset on some further structural and/or branch refinement this year’s late winter/fall.

It would be curious/interesting to keep track of our Hinokis over time and monitor how both have responded to our work. I envision that bringing the green foliage closer to the trunk is the hardest challenge, but as Ryan had said on 1 of this Hinoki videos: Hinoki is a long process, don’t think I will reach that desirable result just in 1-2 years of work, actually that challenge is what I believe that makes Hinokis exciting to work with.

Just as side note this is the evolution that covers less than 1 year since first styling work (right side):

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Nice. They’re fun to work with for sure. I haven’t noticed any back budding yet, but I countered that by putting movement into branches to narrow the silhouette.


Really cool! Its amazing the trunk movement, specially on the apex and base portions! That’s for me the big + of ur tree!

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Thanks! Initially I wasn’t happy with it, but when I moved the lower branches upwards the rest just clicked. Took 18 hours to style lol.

I hear you, hinokis demand long styling sessions.

You got the tricky part right in moving the branches upwards. Seeing a second time I can see that improved the whole image indeed plus you were able to fill some of the negative spaces. Inspiring indeed!

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