Valid option or ignorant whim?

treebeard55

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(Some of you will see this thread on other fora too.)

I got this tree in Andy Smith’s 2010 “Burlap Bonanza” last year. It had been collected in March; I received it in mid-April, and potted it within two days in this growing box. The mix is 50% lava, 30% bark, and 20% Turface, all sifted to remove fines. Very little of the native soil was removed, and I did very little root pruning; not much more than cleaning up the stubs of some broken roots. The nebari was never exposed, which figures in my question.

After about six weeks in shade I moved the tree to our deck, which is the sunniest spot I can offer it. Thruout the summer I fertilized it along with everything else, using both fert cakes (from North Star Bonsai) and supplemental liquid fertilizers. I had read that fertilizing in the first part of the year results in lo-o-ong needles, but I didn’t mind that right now: more important was to make sure the tree was able to re-establish itself well. Sure enough, the needles produced in the latter part of the year were twice as long as the needles with which it came!

In early-to-mid fall, I removed the terminal buds on several branches; the tree replaced them by winter. It has spent the winter in our sheltered side yard, with plenty of snow and cold but very little wind.

The first picture shows the tree as received, the second just after it went into its grow box. The third picture is from last September. The fourth shows the tree after our one true blizzard of the winter (all 10-12 hours of it.) And the fifth is totally unrelated to bonsai: my 10-year-old enjoying the blizzard! ;)

(Continued in first "Reply.")
 

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treebeard55

Chumono
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Continued ...

As the pictures show, it’s doing very well, I think. And that led me to a thought: I had meant to leave it alone, except for fertilizer, for one more year. But now I’m wondering if it would be safe to repot again this spring. The reason for doing so would be to remove a little more of the native soil, enough to see the nebari. Until I see the nebari, I’m not ready to make a final decision on planting angle. (A personal preference: I like a reasonably level nebari, because it usually looks more stable to me.)

This is only my second ponderosa, and I killed my first thru ignorance. I don’t want to kill this one, especially since it, like my first, is a Valentine-birthday-anniversary present from my lovely wife!

So I’m looking for comments, advice, feedback, especially from experienced ponderosa growers. Would it be OK to repot again this spring? Or should I slap my hands, give myself 50 lashes with wet spaghetti for even thinking of such a thing, and leave it strictly alone until 2012?


I've already posted this topic on another forum, and gotten an answer from a man whose ponderosa knowledge I certainly respect. I think I know what I'm going to do. But I'd still like to have input from anyone else who cares to comment. And please, for my own education, give me a brief reason for your opinion, if you can.

The last three pictures were all taken yesterday. The first shows the tree as it is right now. In the second, the blue line shows the length of the needles with which the tree came, the yellow arrow shows the needles that grew over the summer. And the third shows the new buds (3 of them) that the tree produced at the tip of the highest branch, after I removed the existing terminal bud in the fall.
 

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