Poking some holes in your theory


We have a pot.

Kinda ugly, very cheap. Blue. But solidly built, and it will hold water. That’s the problem.

Below, we have a tree that needs a good training pot. The pot above will do…..almost.

Celtis lævigata, hackberry, southern hackberry, sugarberry, swamp sugarberry, etc.

I said the pot holds water, though you can clearly see it has holes.

Looking at the bottom, you begin to see the problem. Whoever designed the pot, in a structural integrity way, made a ridge down the middle of the bottom.

Which is fine, we don’t want a weak pot. Especially a large one like this. But the holes are above the lowest part of the pot.

And the drain holes being where they cause water to pool on each side of those holes. Like this:

Now, if you’re a careful reader of the blog, you’ll know that a pool of water is only good for gazing into to see your reflection, or into the soul’s abyss that is the eyes window, contemplating eternity, or maybe just to see what you’re doing when popping a zit. And a pooling of water in the bottom of the pot can kill roots, or at least slow growth (being that, at night, during the process of respiration -which is the process when plants breathe oxygen just like you and I-, the plants use the sugars they’ve been making all day with photosynthesis. They breathe through their roots and, again, just like us, they can’t breathe water, so no respiration, no growth). And yes, most growth occurs at night.

So, simply put, we need to drill a few good holes.

When I began in bonsai, that was a hard thing to do. We had masonry bits or concrete buys. Today, we have these amazing things called “diamond core drill bits”.

They cut through ceramic “like butter”.

The edge is coated with industrial diamonds….

They’re cheap, I got this set for less than ten bucks.

And all you need to do is to make sure you use water when drilling.

Tonight I’ll be using about a 1/2 inch hole size, just for the harmony in calling it 1/2 inch.

You can definitely use a drill press while drilling, but I use a hand drill. The secret to using a hand drill is to cut a little half-moon starter mark into the ceramic, for the bit to grab on to, otherwise, the bit just chatters around on the surface. I do it by holding the drill at an angle, about 45°, and grind that cut into the pot.

Like so….

Then I straighten the drill to 90° and let the bit cut its way through. Like so…

Amazingly, it took less than 30 seconds to cut through this pot, even though the thickness is about a half-inch thick (see, there’s synchronicity in the 1/2 inch size…)

The “core”!

In about two minutes I have all four holes drilled.

And here’s the tree in the pot. As I said, it’s a training pot, so not the best fit for the tree, but it’ll work for the development I’m wanting this year.

And that’s that……you thought I was going to talk bonsai politics, weren’t you? Sometimes a hole is all you need…..


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