Okay, would I post this blog if the Mayhaw didn’t make it? But seriously, I got an email from a good bonsai friend after I posted the blog admiring my courage in repotting the tree in May. Granted, May is not the ideal time to repot much of anything so it was a sensible question. However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is that bonsai in good health have a bigger window in which you can do such operations as root-pruning and repotting than the conventional wisdom would dictate. Why? Simply because the tree has a “will” to live and will do so as long as conditions for growth are acceptable. In this case, I knew we wouldn’t get temperatures high enough to stop root growth for another couple of weeks at least. That generally means mid-90s, and considering that a root-pruned tree should not have roots against the sides of the pot I knew I’d have a month at minimum for root-growth recovery (and hawthorns aren’t typically vigorous rooters in any event).
The photo above was taken on May 30th. The one at left was taken July 5th. The tree resumed growth about two weeks after the repotting, which is typical. It did drop most of the leaves I left on it – in retrospect, I should have gone ahead and defoliated it – but that was just the tree taking care of itself until new root growth had occurred.
Nothing more will be done to this tree in 2015; no trimming, no pruning, no pinching. I have the leader wired up, and will remove the wire when it starts to bite, but that’s it. The tree will continue to grow into the depths of summer, but should slow considerably by sometime in August.
Okay, at some point I’m supposed to say, “Don’t try this at home,” but once you have some experience with trees and can gauge their health I say experiment with less expensive or desirable material you’re working on. The more useful techniques you learn, the better a bonsai artist you’ll be.