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Meyer Lemon Root Ball Question

14 years ago

I potted two dwarf meyer lemon trees a few weeks ago. One of them, when I was loosening the soil and untangling the roots, I probably did something wrong, so this one's leaves are all turning yellow. Worst of all, the tree is so slanted after a wind storm I had to place a brick on top of the root to help stabilizing it.

Here's where I was confused. Quite a few posts on this forum suggested that we clean as much soil from the roots as possible when repotting. But when I was doing that, the white whisker looking roots (my tree only has that kind of roots, by the way) kept falling off with the soil. I had to stop because I was worried if I kept loosening the soil it'd become a bareroot plant.

When I decided to stop messing with the root ball, the middle portion on one side of the root ball had very little soil and roots left. So when I planted it the tree was slanted. I tried my best to stuff soil into the hollow section, but after a few days the tree was less and less straight. Then the wind storm pretty much pulled half of the plant out of the container.

Should I not have messed with the root ball and the original soil from the nursery? Or should I have pulled more rigorously? The soil mix I use is similar to Al's 5-1-1 mix, consisted mostly fine barks, so it's really hard to hold the tree if the root ball is too small. In the event that this one passes away, I don't want to make the same mistake next time. Also, is there a way to rescue my yellowing and withering plant that can't even stand straight on its own?

Any tips and suggestions are appreciated! Pictures are even better as I have no clue what a "clean" lemon tree root ball is supposed to look like.

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