Spring Workshop on Conifers



Spring is when conifer bonsai including junipers and pines begin to wake from their winter dormancy period. As the sap begins to rise buds start to swell and roots begin to extend. This is the correct time for these trees to be repotted safely.

Many people are nervous of repotting conifers as they are uncertain of how to handle the root ball, how much root they can safely remove and even how much soil they can remove in fear of losing all their mycorrhizae. We will cover these topics and you will be guided on the process so you can with confidence repot your trees.

Growing mediums are much debated topic, however during this workshop you will be guided on the benefits of using various media depending on your development goals and what your daily routine can manage.

Trees which are "leggy" or where branches have become coarse can be improved through grafting. Before sap flow becomes too strong, grafts should be performed for the best chance of success. Mark Polson will be on hand as well as Terry Erasmus to assist you with this technique which once mastered will see you lift the standard of your junipers and pines to a whole new level of refinement. 

Course Outline

Participants will be guided on the following:

  1. check trees to determine whether repotting is necessary.
  2. based on the tree species, age and stage of development which growing medium would be best.
  3. how to properly remove spent growing medium and determine the amount of roots which can safely be removed and how.
  4. securing your tree and properly introducing new growing media.
  5. purpose for and application of sphagnum moss.
  6. improve your tree with scion grafts on branches and/or the trunk.

Who should do the course

This is a course which is ideal for all skill levels. As this is a small group workshop, limited to 16 participants (8 persons for each workshop leader) Terry Erasmus and Mark Polson will be able to assist you at a level you are comfortable with and you will also be able to learn from fellow delegates who are also receiving instruction.

    What is included

    You will be provided with a covered space in which to work.

    Morning tea and coffee included for all delegates. Please bring your own lunch and any additional refreshments you might like.

    Please bring the following or order it prior to the workshop and it will be available to you upon arrival:

    Recommended tools

    Typical tools related to repotting (Check out this collection). Various growing media will be available but to be sure please let me know of any specific needs after visiting this collection.

    Stone Lantern will have a selection of bonsai pots to select from if you need, alternatively you can select from the various containers on this website, ordering them prior to the workshop please.

    If doing grafting be sure to bring the necessary tools. You are welcome to contact me to confirm if you are uncertain of what to bring.

      What you need to bring

      • Notepad and writing implements.
      • Please bring your own tools or order them at least 24hrs prior to the event and I will bring them to you. At least one coniferous (juniper, pines etc) tree to work on or you {might} purchase on the day.


      Stone Lantern Bonsai. 32 Owl Street, Joostenberg Vlakte, Kraaifontein, Cape Town, 7550. Google Map. Contact: 083 375 0446 or visit their website.


      • The workshop is limited to 16 people.
      • Your space in this workshop is guaranteed only upon receipt of full payment on a first come first served basis.
      • Should you need to cancel please inform me in writing a minimum of 72hrs (3 days) prior to the workshop and you will be refunded in full. If you fail to do so and are unable to prove an emergency, you will forfeit 100% of your fees.
      • Should there be insufficient interest I reserve the right to cancel the workshop, in which case you will be refunded 100% of your fee.