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Shrinking soil

Good evening, some help please! I have a Chinese Elm which is around 6 years old. I've neglected it somewhat throughout the summer and would like to get it healthy again. Though I have been watering it the soil has compacted and shrunk, I would like to re-pot it but many posts say that spring is the correct time. Small, stringy roots have started to come through and it is generally looking tired. I stupidly picked the moss off the top. If it needs re-potting could somebody tell me the best type and where I can get a full kit including what I would need. The current pot is about 6'' long, 3'' wide and 2'' deep.

I appreciate any advice.


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Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:09 pm

Luckily for you, there is not need for a kit. Your plant does seem in need for a soil change and the such. It would be preferable to do the repotting early in the summer so the tree will be able to grow but its not an ironclad rule. I've repotted some plants as late as November with no problems, but these were very healthy plants. To repot your tree simply uproot it from the pot, wash out all the dirt and try to gently remove the dirt from the roots so that new/fresh dirt can surround the pot. If you want your bonsai to grow bigger, buy a larger pot. If not, simply cut the unwanted roots off until the plant fits nicely with plenty of dirt. Won't need to buy a new pot this way. If you have bonsai tools it will make it easy (such as a root hook or shears) but not a necessity. Also, if you can anchor your tree down into the pot comfortably that would be preferred because a tree that can move around has a harder time developing new roots, but once again not a necessity. Important notice, once you repot your tree keep it out of direct sunlight and dry winds until your tree's roots have had time to adjust and absorb water. This will keep it from shriveling up. :D

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Greener Thumb
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If it needs re-potting could somebody tell me the best type
I suspect you are referring to the type of soil, yes? If so, a soil consisting of equal parts conifer bark and some rock-like substance will do quite nicely. One doesn't need a kit do preform this task as FlyingSheep stated before.

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Yeah, soil is easy to get. Just need some loose draining soil, if you really wanted to you could easily make some bonsai soil with cat litter. Never tried that, but a friend said it works decently. Fresh smell :D

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As noted a new pot is not necessarily required but is an option. Pots and soil are available from numerous online resources. Here is a reputable retailer that I have dealt with in the past.


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