Mirai philosophy on timing of repotting, wiring, pruning, etc.?

I’ve noticed people have different philosophies as to the best time to repot, wire, prune, etc. Having heard several has me confused, e.g. a teacher I met yesterday recommended that you only report now and wait for winter to do most of your wiring and pruning, with light pruning OK in summer. What’s the philosophy Mirai recommends following?

I would say Mirai’s philosophy is to do things when the tree is giving you signs that it is ready. Generally that means doing things when the tree is in an energy positive state and is healthy and showing signs of strength.

You can look back in the archives and see Ryan doing lots of different things throughout the year on different trees. Timing is very critical for a lot of work but they don’t abide by broad brush strokes like you’ve mentioned above.

I think generally speaking, repotting in spring is almost always recommended, right as the buds start swelling or right before. First opportunity for most trees to style is post first flush, which is late spring early summer. Big bends are generally better in the late summer/early fall. But every species is different and the exact timing will change based on what the tree is telling you.


Thanks! That makes more sense to me than being rigid. I like listening to what the tree tells you.

Would you include wiring in styling? Does that drain energy from the tree?

Also, does this change with nursery stock? Someone told me yesterday that you can somewhat ignore the schedule for them, and style them when you get them. For me, as a complete beginner, I’d like to get some hands on practice styling before the main season for styling comes so I’m a bit more prepared.

You mention this differs by tree. My understanding is that this depends on the climate where the tree originates from. Is there somewhere I can read up more on this by species? For example, if I had a Japanese Larch and wanted to know the best time to prune.

Yeah young trees are generally more forgiving because they have a lot of youthful strength.

Styling is wiring, cleaning and pruning IMO. You wouldn’t wire a branch without styling it. Wiring does a little bit of damage to the branch which means it has to spend some energy healing the damage.

There are four good larch streams in the archive that would help you get a handle on pruning larch.

So you can style a young tree any time of the year really? I assume you get a feel for what young is as you develop experience. Would most pre bonsais that aren’t mature trees generally fit?

I’ve seen some of the pruning videos. It’s one thing watching, another thing understanding enough to feel comfortable digging into the tree…

I wouldn’t say any time of the year is okay for a young tree. You can still kill a young tree if you do it at the wrong time.

But I would say the windows that it is acceptable are much wider with younger trees.