A Student’s Chojubai-

This is a guest tree with guest comments from a long-time student. The subject is a Chojubai that she’s developed over the last 11 years. 

A Chojubai 11 years from a cutting. This is the back.

The front. 16” W x 9” H / 41cm W x 23cm H. From this view we see shoots from the base being trained as trunks for a bigger clump style. If you wish for a clump style, maybe let only one root shoot grow a year, otherwise the older, larger trunks can weaken. 

My student sent me 10 years of notes on this Chojubai:

  • Spring 2012. I purchased a cutting from Bonsai Northwest.
  • June 30, 2012. At our study group meeting you recommended that I put them in 3 gallon nursery pots with 80% pumice and 20% bark / steer compost to get some size on them.
  • January 18, 2014. At our study group meeting, following your advice, I wired and repotted the chojubai as a multi-trunk raft in the same 3-gallon pot because the central trunk had become too stiff to bend and make into an interesting single trunk tree.
  • March 3, 2018. Repotted the chojubai I have into the current bonsai pot. Dipped it in Zerotol.
  • January 26, 2019. I found a considerable number of galls and nematodes resulting in having to remove quite a bit of the roots. Dipped it in Zerotol to control them.
  • Early July 2022. Hot weather and a missed watering resulted in my chojubai dropping a lot of its leaves.  It needed repotting anyway so I planned for the repot.
  • July 4, 2022. Repotted my chojubai into the same pot (with Zerotol dip). I was happy to see lots of healthy roots and no sign of nematodes or galls. I think the extra year in a nursery pot that was on the ground during the winter resulted in the nematode invasion.
  • Summer to fall 2022. Very little pruning was needed in fall. My chojubai leafed out after the repot but didn’t put on much extensions. It has bloomed profusely this winter-spring.

She notes further:

“I had been trimming the chojubai three times a year (June after extensions hardened off, late July, Fall after leaves fall off). Each trim involving cutting off considerable extensions so I it didn’t seem to be weakening them. However, recently I went to twice a year after reading your blog, and maybe this is appropriate now that the shrub is older. I sometimes wire shoots to improve the appearance.”

“Following your advice, I have fertilized like crazy starting in March with the black pine and continuing through the growing season. I most often used 1 T fish, ½ t Dyna Grow fertilizer. In 2021 after attending a fall Seasonal I started using Osmocote as well.”

“The chojubai was developed without the benefit of a greenhouse. So, much is possible in 10 years even with a primitive existence, although stone tools would probably be limiting.”

Almost all of this work was done by my student. I had so little influence that this is definitely her work. Kudos and well done!

April 2023  Bulletin Board

  • You might have noticed I’m trying something new…posting on Monday morning rather than Friday! Feel free to be irritated or rapturous and comment freely. 

🤞Sign up for the blog!

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy


  1. John Goodenow says:

    Monday or Friday…makes no difference. Just keep posting. We need it.

  2. Ray says:

    Your student has done a great job developing this bonsai.
    I like the monday post😎

Leave a Reply