This post should be positioned below the photos of the buds (in a perfect world) I decided to re-pot my collected cottonwood today, as the buds were breaking. This is the best time to re-pot deciduous bonsai as it shows the roots have become active and can tolerate pruning. I styled the tree for the first time earlier this year and put some pretty good bends in the branches. I have a close shot of one of the branches that actually cracked many places:

Next I’d like to show the tree in the pot before I re-potted to see the change needed; the tree has to be rotated clockwise from twenty past the hour to half past the hour. Hope that makes sense:

What followed this was a process of removing all the heavy moss cover and removing the tree from the pot. I collected this tree in April of 2008 and put it in this Chinese pot right away. The pot was root-bound after four years; I used 100% pumice to pot the tree in and it worked very well. The pot was loaded with roots of all kinds but the ones I like most are the fine feeder roots, which were in abundance! I would like to have included photos of working on the roots but the sun was out and I like to work quickly so the time the roots are exposed is minimal. A photographer would have been handy today 😉

I didn’t remove much of the root ball; only enough to allow me to rotate the tree in the pot clockwise. The new soil I used to re-pot the tree was 1/2 pumice 1/4″ particle size and 1/2 hard akadama. Pumice and akadama were pre-sifted before mixing together. I also used a slick method to secure the tree into the pot I learned from Michael Hagedorn. I drove a bamboo stake into each side of the root ball and aluminum wire through the drain holes was tied to the bamboo stakes. It really made the tall tree steady in its new position in the pot. Once the tree was tied in, pumice/akadama was worked in around the root ball and the walls of the pot until all the air spaces were filled. Following that, I watered the tree very well until the discharge from the drain holes ran clear. If you have re-potted correctly, water should flow freely through the surface of the pot and not pool at all. Here is the result of 1/2 day’s work: