Ginkgo is Early… Time to Repot

Today is March 12th, and my Ginkgo is already showing green buds. This means it is the ideal time to repot. This is more than one month earlier than I am accustomed to seeing movement on this tree.

The last time I repotted this tree was in 2010, and it was not until April 17th that the buds were starting to move! This seems to be the same throughout the bonsai community… a warm winter means early spring.

I am happy spring is here, but I am always concerned about taking my trees out of winter storage, then having to shuffle them around again when it becomes -15C in April 🙂

The ground is already thawed so I pulled out my ginkgo and brought it to a Toronto Bonsai Society meeting.

Normally I don't see this sort of action on this tree until mid-late April!

This is the new pot, which I got on a recent trip to Japan. It is probably 20-30 years old, based on the patina that is starting to develop. The shiny blue glaze has begun to relax into a complex, matte colour which I absolutely love.

The pot has no stamp on it. Nevertheless, it is a very high quality pot... heavy, but with thin walls. It will have no problem standing up to Canadian winters.

The tips of the shoots are just turning green, and the tips of the roots are just turning white. This tells me its a good time to repot.

All done! I think the new pot is a very nice fit. The old one was great too, and I was happy with it for 3 years. But I think its time for a change. This pot will really make the fall colours pop (unlike the last one) and is also suitable for the winter image. Can't wait for fall!


5 Responses

  1. I totally love your ginkgo, it is because of it that I bought one last summer (nothing compared to yours of course) and I am happy to finally find the owner of that tree!

    great work

    March 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    • Thanks for the kind words akhater 🙂 I love this tree as well, and am glad that it inspired you to get into this very cool species.


      March 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      • Thank you for the reply, did you train the tree or mainly bought it ?

        any tips for the ramification and/or getting more branches? mine have only 2 or 3 buds nothing more

        March 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm

        • Ramification is tough on Ginkgo. They backbud readily, but as you may have noticed, usually only the terminal bud on the branch actually grows out to form a new branch. The backbuds usually just make a pair of leaves and don’t really extend. They just form a new bud for next year. If you allow this growth to continue, secondary branching will never form.

          To ramify ginkgo the first step is having a very strong and vigorous tree. Lots of water sun and fertilizer and good fast draining soil. Only then will cutting back the apex shoot stimulate the backbuds to actually extend into shoots = ramification.

          The next trick is letting the spring growth grow out long enough before cutting it back (wait til it is at about 3-5 pairs of leaves). This will allow the tree to gain strength. Then, cut it back to the first pair, unless it is a very weak branch – leave 2 pairs. Some of the backbuds should now extend out. Common mistake is cutting back the spring growth too early and weakening the tree.

          I only realized this technique a couple of years ago, and last year I was able to double the number of branches on my ginkgo by following the process.

          Wow that was a long comment! I should turn this into a post about building ramification on ginkgo lol!

          I bought this tree as pre-bonsai. Almost all of the branch work is mine since 2009. Check out my progressions page for some earlier pics of this tree.


          March 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

  2. Thank you for taking the time to write this, much appreciated !

    I didn’t mean to turn your blog to a forum sorry about that 😉

    March 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

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