Repot in July or August (nursery pines, junipers)

I am heading to nursery this weekend and looking to get about 12 trees for $100, mix of junipers and pines. I really want to practice repotting, I have all the materials, tools, soil, pots ready and want to give it a go. I am in Korea.

I know now is not the best time for it, but if I am going to take ~5 of the 12 trees to practice my first repotting/root exploration experience, is it better to do so now, or in August? ie, since I am late (past Spring), do it as soon as possible, or is there a late August window that is better than July?

Thank you!

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I think you should wait until autumn (with greenhouse) or next spring.

If you repot now and a tree dies, you won’t know the reason (wrong season or wrong handling).

Patience :slight_smile:

Best regards,


For people like us with a small nursery stock collection, 90% of the hobby is watering, studying the trees, and waiting for the right time to work.

Perfect timing of procedures is a bonsai skill that needs mastering. It’s hard. I’m not very good at it, but I ALWAYS regret poor timing.


First thing to learn about Bonsai. Patience!!!
Why risk loosing your trees after you have spent your hard earnt cash on them?

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@bonsaikorea Google “bonsai in korea”… tons.
You should be able to find English speaking locals to help you… I found Koreans to be very friendly and nice.
Maybe, find better starting trees, too…


Hey @bonsaikorea,

As many have said waiting is a major skill in bonsai. But I totally know how it is when starting out; you want to get your hands in there and start working.
I recently picked up 5 hinoki a month ago and went ahead did some pretty heavy root-work. They are doing great. The key with out of season work is that you need to be on point with aftercare. You should plan to be hands off until it’s clear the trees have recovered.
I have also had satisfactory results repotting broadleaf evergreen out of season.
My bonsai sense tells me pines are not great candidates for out of season repotting. Juniper might be ok.
I think getting some cheap material and making some mistakes is a necessary part of the journey.
As a beginner you’ll be a little short on work as you are building your collection of trees. This tends to lead to giving a small number of trees too much attention.


The itch is strong for sure. I’ve been accumulating my supplies for my spring repotting. To satisfy the itch maybe only repot one of the better looking juniper. Pines draw strength from their roots, so I wouldn’t touch those until spring. With that many trees the first thing you should be doing is cleaning and structural wiring. Perhaps some light pruning although it’s probably not time to prune.

Another thing to consider…it’s cheap nursery stock so do whatever as long as you understand that you’ll potentially set the tree back a lot or kill it. Might as well make mistakes now instead of later on trees you care about. Fall fertilizing is coming soon though and if you damage the trees now you’ll miss that most important feeding.

Please update us with pics too!

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I think you should just let the trees grow. If I where you I would just clean bottoms in between branches and just study the trees growth. Wait to spring to repott, even if you repot now and they survive they are not going to grow strong. You will have weak trees in the end of the process that would take a full year to recover. Just wait it’s worth it.


Thanks everyone for the excellent replies. Great forum!