Pine Repotting Window

Apologies in advance for another basic question but I’m hoping to take my knowledge to another level after just maintaining my small collection this past year and a half but this year I’m looking to start styling my trees and learning more about pruning etc.
My question is my JWP. needs repotting as it’s still in the same soil from when I purchased it and looks very compacted now but the candles are starting to show so was wondering if I’ve missed the window to re-pot

Many thanks in advance as usual

I tend towards saying your window to repot is closing fast. I wouldn’t particularly on a tree with that amount of foliage that is starting to demand a lot of water. Does it really need repotting? Do you have problems with water percolation? The foliage doesn’t seem to be showing any signs that the balance of water and oxygen is off due to high compaction of the soil…


good looking pine, you know to protect the bark? That bark is beautiful and needs to stay on the tree, so treat it carefully. Only repot if you need to. You can learn a lot from archived pine streams. Maybe do structural wiring but please protect the bark. :nerd_face:

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Hey @rafi. The water can sit on top of the soil for a few seconds or so at a guess but will work it’s way through the soil so I’m guessing that it’s not highly compacted as you say so will probably leave it till next year now as like you say it’s seems to be healthy

Hi ya @Bonsai_bob. I wasn’t aware that I needed to protect the bark or do you mean just to be careful when working around it.
After rafi’s answer above I think I’m going to wait until next year to re-pot if the current window is that small.
The tree definitely needs some thinning out and wiring doing on it so will take your advice bob and check out some older streams for some knowledge building with regards to thinning out the needles

Hey @BonsaiJourneyman, as it is healthy if you’re not repotting then you can style it, no point on loosing a year without any work. With such a healthy tree, I’d at this point make sure that there aren’t more than 2 branches at any one junction, then wire and set branches in place. Pines branches are flexible and it seems that that primary structure of the tree is already there so the amount of bending is probably minor but in any case it is a good time to be doing it as any stress and micro injuries will be quickly healed.

I probably was not clear in my statement. Just take care when working or moving the tree to not handle the trunk and the base of the tree. I made mistakes by moving a tree during repotting and did some damage to the bark. A good friend’s grandson picked the ancient bark off his collected ponderosa pine cause it looked like fun!! So avoiding temptation to critters, two legged and four to keep the tree in a safe place. As @rafi has stated doing structural wiring now can be an opportunity to learn the direction you want the tree to go. The tree looks very healthy and you want to take advantage of that vigor to begin the styling process. The process is not done as long as the tree keeps growing. Each season is an opportunity to examine the health and beauty of the bonsai. You are lucky to have these wonderful resources to avoid many of the mistakes I and others have made in our practices. Have fun! If it is not fun then why do we do it?:thinking:

Thank you both @rafi & @Bonsai_bob for all the help and advice so far.

With regards to getting the tree wired and initial styling done would I need to thin the needles out first so to speak or is this a job to do after the wiring/styling work.

I will definitely go through the tree to make sure there aren’t any more than two branches at any junctions, hence my question re: thinning of the needles.

Sorry for all the questions guys but I’m trying to learn the different timing of work to be done in the Bonsai calendar year.

Many thanks in advance,


Only those needles that are on the bottom of branches once you set their position, in junctions or on the planned path of the wire…

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Thank you @rafi.

As can be seen from the image this is a standard branch on the pine so I just need to go through and make sure that there only 2s at a junction, wire and place branch where required and then clean up any downward needles, junctions etc

I think it is your opportunity to set the right structure now. Don’t remove upward needles, only those on the path of the wire if they’ll be crushed anyway and those downward pointing.

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Thank you for all of your help @rafi, it’s really appreciated