Shinpaku Nebari Discovery

Hey Mirai Members,

I purchased a Shinpaku Juniper from a local bonsai nursery this spring and have been digging into the roots to reveal the nebari slowly.

In doing so I struck the roots photographed rather quickly (less than 1/4” deep). They are quite dainty and I’m thinking I need to remove them and continue deeper. Figured it would be wise to check in with others who have more experience than myself.

Thoughts on if these are the true structural roots of the tree?

Should I remove them and continue digging deeper?

Kind regards,
US, Zone 7a

Is it from New England Bonsai Gardens?

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No, I got it from Bonsai West actually.

Yeah I d say you can go deeper . First you can continue to pull the soil back with a chopstick to determine if you should cut any roots in search of nebari.

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Thanks for your input. Much appreciated. I will continue to excavate the root system carefully and back fill if nothing is discovered. Fingers crossed as this was one expensive bush!

Nice what was the cost if you don’t mind me asking, figuring out if it’s worth the trip!

My self I would not be proceeding . In the manner you are .I would back fill with soil you have dug . Grow the tree this year . Most likely fert heavily . Make some design choices . ( I like to contemplate a tree while watering for a season ) you need a goal . First then set out to create it . Next spring . Repot the tree . This is when you examine the complete root ball . Make choices . Related to nebari . Your most likely going to remove all the deeper roots . And spread the upper roots out . Unless you find something you really like deeper . I would use this approach . Replant the tree in a shallow flat larger container . Leaving room for the nebari to spread and grow . Then let it recover . Before starting to style the top . You can do some initial styling this year . If your confident of your idea . Plan first then act . It is material to make into a bonsai . Not a bonsai . Larger flatter container to improve nebari More root area to creat aggressive growth for recovery and styling . As you go forward . You get the top closer to refining . And you start to reduce the root mass . At each repot . Unless you want to grow a larger tree . This is the fastest way to a finished bonsai .


I would save root cutting for root cutting season, which is usually early spring.

The only reason I can see removing is if one or two roots is sitting too high. if you have an even spread of roots in a circular fashion, then that should develop correctly overtime.

It’s probably more important to prune the roots from the bottom instead of from the top, but do so during repotting season.

Bring your tree to your local Bonsai club or look for someone to mentor you and teach you Bonsai skills.

No one ever masters anything in life.

All of us are on the path of learning and developing our skills.

There’s no substitute for experience but getting insight into doing the right thing can save lots of time and frustration.

I don’t do anything with roots during the summer.

Mats H