Shipping Aftercare: Health issues with Bonsai NL ->UK

I’ve just received the below bonsai to my home in London, UK, from Bonsai Plaza, based in the Netherlands. The trees were shipped to the UK last Monday, and arrived in two days, but were stuck in customs at the UK border for about 8.

I’m concerned for the health of these trees, as they were in such conditions for 10 days, and all plants were individually inspected, having the plastic covering around the pots removed for viewing by border control for the duration of the inspection.

Pictured below: Deshojo Maple, Trident Maple, Korean Hornbeam, and Cork bark elm.

I have a few concerns with the below trees specifically, and would also appreciate advise on general aftercare of shipped trees, from watering, sun exposure, pruning, repotting and fertilizing.

The Deshojo Maple lost a fair bit of foliage, as I found in the shipping box, and a lot of the foliage that’s remained on the tree doesn’t look too healthy. Hopefully it’ll bounce back. Should I do any pruning or cleaning? Or just leave it. General aftercare for a plant of this health?

As for the trident maple, there is visible ‘fungus’ of some sort growing in a patch on the pot, and apologies for my ignorance, but I’m unaware of what those white growths are. I’m assuming that’s not what maple roots look like… I’ve never owned a maple before so I could be wrong. There are roots growing out of the bottom of the pot though… Will this tree be okay to wait until spring before repotting?

This is the least concerning to me… It’s definitely lost foliage but I think it’s otherwise okay. Please do advise on general aftercare regardless.

My concern for the elm is one, the mould or fungus growth (which has a pretty bad smell I may add), similarly to the trident maple. But also, when UK customs were rewrapping the plastic growing pot, they’ve clearly damaged it, cracking one size of it completely. Is this something that warrants a repot? Or can it wait till spring?

Thanks for taking the time to help me with this. And let me know if you need any more information to better understand the situation and how that may affect aftercare moving forwards.

Peace :slight_smile:


I’ve had worst, they should recover since there is a bit of time left 'till they start shutting down.
Let them be, don’t prune, repot wire or fertilize, just water then when they need it.
Watch the water/oxygen balance.
Don’t worry about that fungus, it’s probably just left over fertilizer that stayed to wet during shipping, should go away on its own.
As for those small sprouts, you can remove them, probably some weeds.
And for that cracked pot, put some duct tape over it to hold it together and repot in spring.


me also thinks you will be fine. I had much worse arrivals.
Don’t touch (meaning no pruning, no work, no repotting etc.). Just let them recover in not too much direct sun and take good care for proper balance when watering.
For the mould. I might consider simply scooping that off and replacing some soil.
You also might want to look into the probio carbon products from Ireland.


Thanks both for the advice. That’s reassuring to hear!

Will follow all of your advice. Tis much appreciated :slight_smile: