Post Stream Discussion - Pomegranate Design

Hey everyone!

What did we all learn, like, dislike, want to know more about, etc?

In this stream we featured a beautiful nursery grown Pomegranate.
We began the stream with pruning decisions and technique then moved on to container selection and deciduous (more specifically Pomegranate) repotting procedures and timing.

I am including a before and after image of this composition for everyone to critique, comment on, or appreciate.

Thanks again!


Mirai will definitely need to follow up on this tree.

A couple of things pop up when I think about the stream.

First, the difference between cutting hardwoods with a saw versus a concave cutters (and other cutters). When using cutters, the hardwood causes the blades to leverage against the living tissue around the cut. This damage greatly reduces the likelihood of getting new branches to develop at the cut. To correct this requires the use of a razor blade. But if you can get a saw blade where you want to make the cut, the remaining wound has a cleaner edge around the living tissue.

Second, the layering technique Ryan used when repotting. He had the fine roots pulled aside as he placed soil in the pot. Then he placed a layer of roots and more soil. He repeated this a few times until he got to the rim of the pot. I like the technique. I’ll be sure to use it.


I really liked that layering technique. Makes me feel like i’ve been brutish in the past and could have had my trees recover more quickly.

Now to find a pomegranate tree…

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I picked up a something called a “princes pomegranate” from an auction in Florida. I’ve got a few of them. Apparently they grow from cuttings. I have no idea what to do with them, but it looks like I may be too late. They’re flushing out right now.

Being in a zone where they don’t grow, it would be great if more people can grow and make pomegranate material more readily available. Love these trees and their twisty knarled character. I’ve been growing one out from seed the last 8 years, but it only grows so fast in a pot.

Can anyone tell me if a Pomegranate tree will back bud if you take a nursery stock and cut it back until you just have a large trunk dia.? Looking to buy a 10gal.Pot Pomegranate from a nursery and have it ship to me. But have to cut down to ship it. Thanks

Great discussion about saw cuts.
One thing I would like to see Ryan performing is dealing with old pruning scars and how to treat them in order to get better tissue healing.

Can someone please clarify when to bare root a tree? Is it only for deciduous trees? Only ones with mature roots that are being potted as a bonsai for the first time? What if the pomegranate had less mature roots? In other streams Ryan kept some nursery soil, but those were pines.

This stream was at a perfect time for me. I purchased a trident maple around 3 years ago,which had been field grown and was in a normal nursery pot when i got it, I was very new to bonsai at the time so when i came to pot it in a pot to develop the trunk and nebari I made a bit of a mess of it> I left a lot of thick roots in that should have been removed and didn’t really spread the roots out correctly, I also didn’t tie it in all that well, this was mainly down to confidence. But thanks to this latest stream and other re potting streams i felt a lot more confident today when i went back to the tree to repot it.I feel i have now properly setup the roots system for the future and my tree didn’t move at all in the pot once tied in, so thank you very much Ryan.

Ryan specifically said that it does never bare root conifers. He bare rooted the pomegranate to treat the roots, replace all the field soil and fit it in the smallest possible container. He said he will never need to do this again for this specific tree.

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I loved this stream! So much useful information all applicable to what I’m working on right now (not that the other streams don’t do the same). But I was confused and unclear on something Ryan mentioned frequently. I didn’t catch/follow the underlying logic/concept behind why this type of root work could never ever be done again or why if it wasn’t done in this repot it could never ever be done in future repots.

The crux of the argument is that the tree will never have this much excess strength again. It’s been growing in that oversized colander for the past year really gaining strength. Once it gets put into a proper bonsai container, it’ll slow down the growth and it’ll never again have the overabundance of strength to be able to handle the massive rootwork again.


Excellent session! Awesome information.

I live in Los Angeles, and so find myself frequently filtering Ryan’s advice through the lens of “my weather is much hotter and drier than that of the PacNW.” My question in this case is in regard to the “top dressing.” I’ll need to look for other sessions where Ryan discusses top dressing to learn more, but I notice that it is quite hard to use a top dressing in our hot weather as it simply dries out immediately, and many people in this area seem to forego it. Is there a trick to using it, or is it futile in my climate? Possibly a question for my local teacher.

Also, I wondered how Ryan was going to water this tree initially–submerge it in a basin, or water it with the hose?

I think an incredible feature going forward would be to follow a tree like this, making little videos of all the work done to it (even if necessity required them to be less produced)–show us the first trimming of it, show us the next repot for sure, show us any wiring or further cutting back. Then, link all those videos in a list below this one in the archive, so people coming to this lesson later can see all the work done to a single tree (possibly using a hashtag “#pomegranantelive13” or whatever to sort the videos). Building a knowledge base as you guys are is really amazing, and the power of adding to it over the years is incredible. I can’t wait to see how this particular pomegranate develops.

In this session there is a point where Ryan is upfront about a limitation of his knowledge and experience, and that made me think of another idea I’ll just throw out there. As Ryan travels around the country and world interacting with other professionals, you could shoot him interviewing other people who have lessons to give. Perhaps there are regional experts that could be brought in to talk about a specific thing, species, etc. This could be a fairly easy way to add more diverse content and expand the scope of the knowledge offered here–maybe would only take an hour up out of any given trip, plus some post editing work. I’m sure available time is the limiting factor, but I thought I’d throw that idea out there!

Lastly, an idea for some adjacent content to these lessons. I for one would be interested in getting some Neji pomegranates (my local nursery has some little ones) and throwing them in the ground here in SoCal for the next decade or so. But how best to field grow them? When to prune? How much? Fertilize? --A video of Ryan interviewing Mr. DaSilva about his practices and techniques of field growing could be incredible adjacent video interview / instruction set.

Great work, keep it up! I’m so glad I purchased the subscription so I can access the archive and watch these videos whenever it is convenient for me.


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watering with a hose, while the water travels through the substrate particles to come out of the drainage holes, it pulls air into the substrate as well.
submerging does not do it as effectively

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Point taken. I like submerging after potting because dry soil tends to be hydrophobic. If I don’t do a good job with the hose, the water will find a few paths through the pot and there are dry spots in the pot.

I’ll adjust my potting practice and follow up submerging the tree with a good watering.

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Thanks for the explanation. I follow now in regards to the repot as a whole. But it seemed like along with that comment in regards to the whole repot, Ryan was also saying the one big root that he debated removing or not was also a now or never decision. I may have just misunderstood him, but why wouldn’t you be able to go in on a future repot and make a decision on a single specific root?

My understanding is that once you decide to repot a deciduous tree in a small container in order to start the journey of finer growth, you use remove the field soil and replace it with proper substrate. This is the perfect opportunity to reduce the structural roots to a size that can fit into this container and keep the tree alive (hopefully). Once this is achieved, for any future repotting, there will be no reason to redo this aggressive approach. My 2 cents.

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I guess it is a matter what we feel works best in our hands.
I personally never submerge newly repotted trees. I just water them several times immediately after the repotting, until i make sure that (hopefully) all the substrate is watered and any dust is watered out.


I was taught to submerge the tree in a tub where the water had a cap full of Superthrive. Then I did some research and experiments and found out that Superthrive may as well be named “Snake Oil”. Now, I soak in Miracle Gro Quick Start. I haven’t done any experiments with it, but I do trust the Miracle Gro brand. I started out as someone who soaks after potting, and I just haven’t changed. :smirk:

I did two experiments with Superthrive. In the first, I grew basil in 4 groups of 4 pots. The groups were watered as needed with the following manufacturer recommended mixtures: Water; Water with Superthrive; Water with Miracle Gro; Water with Miracle Gro and Superthrive combined. The two Superthrive groups were stunted compared to their non-Superthrive counterparts. Example: Plain water plants were pale and thin, but water mixed with Superthrive was worse.
My conclusion was that herbs didn’t do well at all when you use Superthrive.

The second experiment was when I bare-rooted and repotted 4 groups of 4 Fortunella hindsii (Hong Kong kumquat) on a hot dry day in August. I used the same 4 mixtures as before, but only as an after-potting soak. Every tree in all 4 groups survived with the same vigor. I was hoping that at least the water-only group would have a failure. Nope.
My conclusion was you can’t kill Hong Kong kumquats. :wink:

I ended up selling one of those trees to Brussel Martin. I’ll see him Friday. I need to ask him if he’s gotten fruit and seeds from the tree.