Repotting Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree

Repotting Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree

Repotting Japanese Maple Bonsai Trees can sometimes be a challenging prospect for beginners. This simple step by step video shows you not only how to repot but helps you identify when to repot and more importantly if your maple bonsai need repotting. Mark D’Cruz begins by using a bonsai sickle to loose the soil on the edge of the pot. Some pots have lips that bend inward making this type of tool necessary. He next uses traditional bonsai wire cutters to remove the wire that was holding the bonsai plant in place.

He removes the plant and it is severely rootbound. He prepares a new, smaller, bonsai pot to give the tree the appearance of being larger. The first step is to add mesh over the drain holes.

He then turns to cleaning the plant using tweezers. He tries to keep his root ball mostly intact before he removes the top 1/3 of the soil using a pair of bonsai shears to cut the roots. He then switches to an angled concave knob cutter to remove crossing roots.  He then reduces the root ball until it will fit in the new pot with space all around. He adds fresh soil to the bottom and makes a small mound on top. He places the plant in the pot and gently taps with a rubber mallet to make the soil settle. He then wires the tree in with the wire he placed in the bottom earlier.

Finally, he soaks the plant in water to make sure the soil is moist and settled. He takes the extra step of placing sphagnum moss on the surface and along the sides. This promotes surface root growth. He then covers this with green moss to make color and add a natural look.

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

The Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree reaching a height of 5–20 m with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter. The leaves are in opposite pairs, 2.5–8 cm long (excluding the 2–5 cm petiole) and 3.5–6.5 cm broad, hard, glossy dark green above, paler below, usually with three lobes; on mature trees the lobes forward-pointing and with smooth margins, on young trees with more spreading lobes and serrated margins. The flowers are produced in spring, yellow-green, in pendulous corymbs; they are small, with five greenish sepals and five yellow-white petals about 2 mm long, and eight stamens. The fruit is a samara with two winged seeds, each seed 4–7 mm diameter, with a 15 mm wing; the wings are forward-pointing and often overlapping each other.

Bonsai turntable

One of the most useful tools for bonsai is a moderately priced Bonsai turntable. These turntables can be priced as high as $1,500 buy you can buy a model that is around $20 that will server your needs for many years. Using a Bonsai turntable will allow you to quickly view your plant from various angles for styling, trimming, or wiring. It can also be used with an agled piece of wood to see different views priopr to placing the plant in a pot. I like to use a Bonsai turntable when I am trimming so I work evenly on each side as I proceed with the pruning.

Bonsai Branch Bender

This bender is very helpful as you become more advanced in bonsai. This tool is very adjustable and will easily handle tree trunks up to an inch. They are very low priced and can be left in place. I did a short demo video on this bender. Watch the Bonsai Branch Bender demo video.

Bonsai Knob Cutters


A good pair of Bonsai Knob Cutters is essential for advanced bonsai artistry. These tools are great for gettting in close and removing small buds, branchs, gins, and inperfections. This is a high quality pair and is made from carbon steel.

Bonsai Tweezers

This is probably not the first bonsai tool I would buy, but it sure comes in handy. There is always something small, like a bud or a bug that needs to be grabbed. This type is good because there is a blade tool on the opposite end. This can be used to loosen the plant from the edge of a pot.

Bonsai Knife

A good sharp Bonsai Knife is one of the most important tools you can have. There are so many uses that I can't even list them all. You just need it there when it is needed.

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Japanese maple cover

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