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extremely root-bound! transplant to gritty mix

11 years ago

I recently purchased an Osmanthus fragrans and decided to transplant it into gritty mix. It was in a 3 gallon container in typical dirt/bark mix. I removed the bottom couple inches of the root ball and used water and a chop stick to remove most of the media. However, once I got past the outer couple inches, I couldn't penetrate any farther: the plant is too root-bound. That means there's a solid chunk perhaps 5 inches thick that I can't get to. From the outside, it looks like it's comprised of just roots, but I assume there's some media in there too.

I know if I leave it, those roots will slowly die, so I'd like to clean it up, but don't want to damage the plant any further. Right now, the roots are sitting in a bucket of water, and every few hours I've removed it, let the water drain off for 30 seconds, and put it back (a weak attempt at aeration). Hardly the ideal situation, obviously, but I don't now how else to keep the roots from drying out. Please help!

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