Repotting with a really dense sheen? What to do?

Hello all,

I was wondering about what to do when repotting with a sheen that is so dense water doesn’t penetrate it, should you go in there and replace the soil while leaving the outside of the root ball intact. I was thinking about this when watching the Azalea repotting archive video. They kind of mentioned this in the video but didn’t really provide an answer to what to do in this situation. Their “quick fix” was to either dig a hole so the water would kind of pool up and then soak into the sheen or to insert a tube that goes directly below into the sheen. This question is not pointed specifically at azaleas but more in general I guess. I kind of wanted to know for trees in which we don’t fully bare root i.e. pines and most evergreen trees.

So I guess my main question is should you ever go into the sheen and remove the soil completely, as Akadama and/or Kanuma will eventually break down, to replace it on Azalea, Pines, Junipers and other evergreens species?


Check out the vid. He takes out the sheen of a pine.

I have seen this in videos with azaleas check out bonsaifarmtv.

I also helped out a few bonsai artists when I lived in CA. One of them loved azaleas and this problem was common. I am no expert on azaleas and I don’t know if this is right but he would soak them in a tub of water. For a repot he would get it out of the pot and take off/tease out the outer 1/2" to 1" and put new soil around the rim. No expert here, just telling you what I saw and helped with.

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