Repotting Chojubai in Summer

Ten years ago I had several articles about Chojubai translated from Japanese magazines. In one of them a professional reported his preference for repotting in summer. I was surprised and a bit skeptical. Having since experimented with repotting Chojubai at various times of the year, I agree that this small quince does respond marvelously to summer repotting.

If you wish to repot in summer, first prune and trim. Then the quince is defoliated. And then it’s repotted, without bare rooting. This is the method offered by the professional who prefers summer repotting, and is the one I show below.


Defoliating a Chojubai in preparation for a summer repot. Spring shoots were cut off first. 


Only about 1/3 of the root mass was removed before placing in a new box. Try to keep a good ball of roots on these quince. And be careful of overwatering until you see buds. 

I don’t recommend doing aggressive root work on Chojubai. They can take a hit with heavy root reduction. The roots are very fine, and while not as fine as Satsuki Azaleas, are nearly as tender and fragile.


Settling into the new box. My client wants a big specimen, in the 32+ inch range, hence the development box. This is likely a 12-15 year project. 


Buds popping 6 days after summer pruning, defoliation and repot. They really like heat. 


10 days after the repot, the Chojubai is nearly in full leaf again. 


After 14 days, shoots are coming out.

I particularly like summer repotting for the big downsizing of stock Chojubai into a bonsai container. I’ve tried this in spring but they don’t seem to establish as well in the cool temperatures.

I haven’t yet repotted my oldest Chojubai in summer. But given how well the young ones like summer repotting I may try it with the older specimens, too.

Maybe try a summer repot with a vigorous Chojubai displaying long extensions. August 1 is the last date I’d do this in Oregon for the plant to replenish its sugar stores for the winter. This post is a bit late for summer repotting this year in many areas, but maybe keep it in mind for next year.

For more: Take a look at Jonas Dupuich’s experiment on defoliation in this post about summer repotting young Chojubai.

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  1. I just hard pruned and repotted a Vitex agnus-castus in my yard this week. It’s a starter from a 3 gallon nursery pot. I was terrified the first time I did it years ago with another one, and am always shocked by their hardiness and vigor, especially in the Gulf South where our summer heat is intense, especially when combined with the humidity. Normally I save repotting for December through February (during our “winter”), but this little tree had totally stalled out, and I was not surprised to find yards of girdled roots in the base of the pot.

    Are there other trees you recommend repotting in summer as well? I know you’re in a totally different climate, but I’d appreciate the thoughts.

  2. John Ferebee says:

    After talking with Jonas Dupuich I followed the same repotting routine 3 weeks ago to moved my older Chojubia to a different pot and had excellent results.

  3. Mitch Fennell says:

    I love your concise description of all facets of bonsai. While I do not possess a Chojubai at this time, I do have a Japanese Quince. As far as I can tell it marches to a different drummer than the Chojubai. Can you point me in the direction of resources to care for and develop a Japanese Quince?

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