What is best/safest to do first. Style or repot?

If not sure, what is best/safest way? To do the re-pot first or do the styling?
I am talking about nursery stock, planted inside regular soil in regular pots.


Is the tree root bound in the nursery container?

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Two spruces yes one fir no.


argument for styling first is that you then can nail the re-pot better in terms of design. But for the first round of a nursery stock that is not vital imo as you will be evolving and developing he design anyway. Question also is if the first re-pot goes to a ceramic container or a grow box (or root bag or …)


Was planning to put them into deep bonsai ceramic pots. Their nursery pots are relative small in diameter already and after i have removed the top layer of soil to reveal the soil i have discovered that almost half of the height of container was just soil on top of the actual base layer.

In the latest stream, Ryan mentioned that usually (especially if the tree is rootbound in the nursery container) he’ll repot first and style second with nursery material. As part of the repot, he’ll uncover the nebari and try to find the front based on the base and the movement found at the bottom, but not much more styling. This allows the tree to use the foliage to recover the roots.

Also, though, the recent Alberta Spruce wasn’t rootbound and is intended to be used in a forest composition. And because of that, it was styled first (as will the rest of the trees) before it gets planted as a forest composition.

So, both are equally valid and it depends on your situation and what you are trying to accomplish.


Considering all the facts and the fact tha i am a beginner i think taht the safest way is that i repot them this spring and wait with styling for another year.


Good move…do not rush it. and as @nmhansen already noted you will get a better view or the Nebari.


When i repot them into a training pot, how much bigger should the training box be in comparison to the current diameter of the pot? And also, can i use 100% pumice (as in collected trees) in this case?

Marko, what kind of tree is it, how old/large is it, and where do you live?

Zn.7, Slovenia
1 Spruce (1m/40inch from the soil top), 1 Korean Fir (0.6m/24inch from the soil top), 6 Junipers (3-4cm/1-1.5inch trunk diameter). Not sure about the age, trees look healthy, all bought in regular garden centres, potted in regular field soil.

To choose a container from nursery stock, you want to go into the smallest container that will give the tree a chance to move forward health wise. The small container will keep the roots manageable. often if you pick a container slightly larger than the canopy with you will get good results. Don’t go to shallow with nursery stock/old material because, this will cause problems.