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"tapla" root pruning question

9 years ago
last modified: 9 years ago

Hi Al,

I bought another Brush Cherry, and wanted your advice on how to deal w/ the root ball.

I am thinking about taking off the bottom 1/3 with a saw, the entire ball is mostly roots, so I'm not sure how to remove all of the soil w/o destroying many of the finer roots.

Here are some pics.



So what do you think?

Rob

Comments (89)

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hi rina,

    I used root hormone on the cuttings, and yes this is one of the two trees from the beggining, its the one NOT IN THE RED POT. Its the one next to the blue bag of perlite 7 posts up.

    The cuttings are from the one in the red pot.

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    "Here's a pic of the cuttings I took off the tree I got rid of. Any ideas?" Select a very low healthy branch and wire it so it has some movement (unless a broom style is the goal). Everything above the wired branches will then be sacrificial and will help to build taper in the trunk.

    Is the tourniquet part of your layering strategy? What purpose are the sticks serving?

    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
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    Root pruning question - technique and gritty mix

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  • 8 years ago

    It was just a last minute experiment, I am hoping it will serve like the CD method. maybe they will help the roots to grow laterally.

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Very interesting thread indeed.

    Instead of a CD what I have tried very recently is to use CDs sort of things made out of gallon milk containers. I used this for a retrofit to correct the roots of a few ficus benjamina rooted cuttings. The diameter usually about 3-4 inches with a hole drilled in center for a snug fit. Then I cut a radial slit from the hole to the side so that I can slip it on around the base of the plant. I used two of them staggered so that there is a neat hole in the center. Still waiting for the results though.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    Al can I squeeze in a question to please....

    How readily to you find a Trident to air layer? I read on a bonsai forum they don't root that easy.....

  • 8 years ago

    Very easy. I regularly layer the plant off just above the root system if the roots are going to need a lot of work. If you don't want to use sphagnum moss,


    you can cut a plastic pot so it fits around the branch or trunk and use soil. You can girdle the tree or use a tourniquet. Also, you can hasten the layering process by pretreating with etiolation (exclusion of light) via 'banding'.

    To do this, begin 3 weeks ahead of beginning the layer

    * For layers that employ girdling - take note of where you want the roots to appear

    * Sprinkle some IBA talc on a flat surface you can dispose of and press the sticky side of black electrical tape in the talc, then tap off the excess. the length of treated tape should equal the branch/stem's circumference and the tape should be long enough to wrap 3 times around the branch

    * Wrap the branch and secure the tape so it won't peel off.

    * Wait 3 weeks, then girdle below the tape, remove the tape, and start the layer. Works great on hard to root species, and you'll get many more roots than you would with a traditional layer, faster.

    The synthetic auxin stimulates dedifferention and redifferentiation of tissues in the cambium, and the etiolation/banding promotes the formation of root primordia. It works for ground layering, air layering and stooling. You can use a Velcro band instead of the electrical tape, too. Very often, you'll find root initials (next step after primordia or even roots under the bands).

    If you use the tourniquet technique, you'll need to think further ahead. Apply the tourniquet in the grow season before the layer is set. That way, it will block the polar flow of natural auxins and photosynthate immediately above the tourniquet, making that area appear to be begging to be layered.

    This plant has about a 1" trunk & was layered off using a wire tourniquet (still attached). That's a pretty impressive set of roots, for a 1" caliper plant only 1 year after the layer.


    A hornbeam on an ugly root system I'm doing away with:


    A Styrax japonica that was layered off while in the ground:


    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you say that, you hand drilled those holes on the horn beam, then filled them with rooting gel?

    VERY impressive roots on both.

    Cuttings from serissa above.


    Already tolerant of full sun.

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Yes - that's what I said, Rob. I normally don't have any trouble getting cuttings of plants like tridents or K. hornbeams to strike or layers to root, so I usually don't bother with the etiolation/banding technique; but, if it was important to me that attempts to clone a species particularly stand-offish were successful, I'd do a little preplanning and make the extra effort to tip the balance in my favor. I think understanding how helpful it CAN be is a valuable tool to have in your toolbox. I find few things more frustrating than needing a tool that isn't there. Have a good weekend!

    Al

  • 8 years ago

    Horticulinnovationist, is that right?

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Al, that banding technique is awesome. Completely new to me. Now I have to try it on something. In general when do you start the process for say trident maple? I have a neglected 'Seiju' elm that badly needs layering but probably it is too late in the season now. Also it will be great if you could find some time to post a comprehensive thread on such propagation techniques with may be specific notes on certain species.

  • 8 years ago

    If you're layering, start it when buds start to move in spring and then start the layer 3-4 weeks later, when the first leaves are hardening off. If you employ it for cuttings, apply it and wait 3 weeks. It works best for cuttings of current year's summerwood. Remove 1 or 2 leaves and cover the nodes with the tape or Velcro. Leave 2-3 leaves on the cutting. I usually reduce the leaf surfaces by about 50% by cutting across venation. Elms are VERY easy to layer and come easily from cuttings.

    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago

    Thanks Al - that sounds great. I think I am going to try both ways next spring then. I have successfully layered and rooted cuttings of regular chinese elms. It is quite easy as you say. I have just one of the 'Seiju' variety and I am being cautious with it. May be too cautious. I lost my original 'hokkaido' but managed to have a small cutting survive. The cutting is only 3 inches tall now.

  • 8 years ago

    Baby it - they grow fast. ;-) Good luck.

    Al

  • 8 years ago

    Hi Al, do you think I will be safe in transplanting my new Gardenia (into the Gritty Mix)?



    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    I'd prune & repot immediately after blooms fade, or if you want to forgo the blooms, before.

    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago

    I repotted/pruned mine about a week back. Kept it in shade so far and now I am beginning to 'introduce' it to the sun again. It is doing fine so far. Made a lot of cuttings too. This year I am late. I usually do my tropicals late June or so. I usually look for a period of cloudy/humid days to do it.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    That's what the bonsai nursery owner said, it's got one bloom on it, so i'll do it this week.

    Thanks,

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Gardenia update - Original, Cutting, Replacement. What went wrong?

    With the original Gardenia I did what I thought was correct, and suggested. I waited until the blooms faded, cut it back and repotted into the GM.




    I also took a cutting (luckily).

    The original looked fine for 2-3 weeks.

    Then eventually dropped all it's leaves and died.


    The only thing I can figure, is that I may have constricted some of the roots when I wired it into the pot.?

    I went to the bonsai nursery today, and after almost 3 months; there were still 2 Gardenias left. I asked the owner if he would give me a discount since my first one died, so he gave me 30% off. Such a nice guy.


    This one will wait til Spring for a repot. The soil these are in is a bit sandy.

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    That is unfortunate, Rob. But you still have two plants to play with. The new plant seems to have been kept in low light - the lower leaves are mostly missing. It should fill out next season.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    All the bonsai I buy from this "Bonsai nursery" are all kept in the same greenhouse. (His shipments come from different places of course.) This new Gardenia is from the same batch as the first, it still has several buds on it. The first one was in full bloom when I got it, and when I cut it back it started back budding like crazy, then it went straight down hill. Gardenia's don't like full sun from what I understand.

    First one...



    Rob

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    In the August 2nd comment on this thread I showed two Brush Cherry cuttings I took. I bare rooted both of them and transplanted one into potting soil, and the other into the Gritty Mix.



    The one in potting soil thrived, while the one in the GM lagged behind and was pale in color.

    It never really took hold and finally died. I don't know what went wrong with this one either.?

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Looks like you have had a bad streak. In the picture with the chair, it looks like that the leaves are limp for the one in GM. So I would guess that the roots were somehow compromised. If you take the plant out it may give you some clue. The grit can damage the roots if I am too ruthless with packing the mix with a chopstick. It has happened to me before. For small plants I tend to be gentle and also shake the pot a bit to settle the mix around the roots.

    The last picture definitely looks like the leaves received much water and/or lost it too quickly. Next time, may be treat plants with little roots like a cutting and leave it in a humid environment for a week or two. I am hoping Al will pipe in with a more precise diagnosis.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    ..... can't really tell what happened to it. Were roots exposed to any soaps or detergents? Did roots dry out during or after the repot? Use any root drenches or root 'tonics' at repot time? It's important to keep the medium moist where the roots are immediately after the repot. Too much sun/wind soon after repotting?

    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago

    As you can see from the pics above, I did a bare root repot (one after the other) in the sink w/ a colander (no soaps or chemicals), the roots were kept wet. The one in the GM was the one that I wired the lower branch for movement.



    I kept them under lights for a couple of weeks, then moved them to partial shade outside, then eventually to full morning sun.

    I do use a chopstick when repotting (not so much in this small 4" round pot compared to bonsai), but I also like to hold the tree w/ my fingers and steady the pot w/ the heel of the same hand, then firmly tap the side of the pot w/ the other hand to settle the soil. I think I modify the process a bit every time I do it.

    When I first started using the Gritty Mix I could see that it could be quite damaging to the roots of a young tree or plant, just due to it's consistency. I've successfully completed about 30 full repots thus far, and you're bound to lose some, but it just bothers me when I didn't recognize a problem during the process to explain the failure. Sometimes there's a plant you don't expect to make it, and it does just fine.;-)

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    I know you'll find, as you gain experience repotting, that the number of trees you lose is extremely small. I can't remember the last time I lost even a very weak tree to repotting. Please tell me why you think the gritty mix could be "quite damaging to the roots of a young tree or plant". That hasn't ever been my experience, and I'm pretty sure I'm a lot harder on roots during repotting than the average bear.

    Al

  • 8 years ago

    "When I first started using the Gritty Mix"

    I guess I should have phrased that differently. At the end of the sentence - "I could see that it could be quite damaging to the roots of a young tree or plant, just due to it's consistency. "- I should have began the next sentence with:" Since then".

    When I first started using the GM, after the stress of bare rooting a tree I felt like I was dumping a ton of sharp, jagged boulders onto those poor delicate roots, then using a chopstick on top of that. Since then, I've watched countless people doing repots, and have honed my own approach with pretty good success. Most of the trees I've dealt with though, don't have the type of root systems that you can go to town on with a rake, but sparser systems where nearly every root counts. Anyway, the consistency isn't something I'm concerned about anymore, the thing I do worry about is, how long do you have before the GM dries out the roots, once you get the tree in the pot and are getting it situated, before you can actually water it?

    I know I bookmarked it, but I cant find it now. I was looking for the post that contained the bullet points for your next proposed project. I thought it mentioned repotting, root pruning and the such. Hope you're still thinking about it.

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    I probably would have waited a year or more before repotting or root pruning the plants in the picture above because the roots weren't congested enough to warrant it, unless the soil was so bad I thought they wouldn't survive. That decision though, wouldn't be based on my ability to keep the plant going in almost any soil; someone who understands how water behaves in soils can surely make anything the nursery used work for them. It might not be ideal, but USUALLY it's not the life threatening issue it's imagined to be. Plus, there are all those 'tricks' that can be used to reduce water retention. The reason I might repot a nursery plant before the state of root congestion dictates it's time is, I water almost everything on a schedule. I have soo many plants in pots that it's impossible for me to remember who's not in the gritty mix and afford that plant special treatment, so the worry isn't so much whether or not I can keep the plant viable until an appropriate time to repot; rather, it's whether or not the medium the plant is in will allow the plant to survive the schedule I'm going to put it on. Someone with 10 nor 20 plants doesn't have that concern because it's easy to accommodate a small number of plants by checking to see if they actually NEED water.

    That brings up an interesting point. One particular person thinks that using an excessively water-retentive soil saves time because it extends the intervals between waterings. If you're using a soil that doesn't allow you to water on a schedule, each plant needs special attention. That means each plant should be checked for how much moisture is in the soil before it's watered, because those soils are very unforgiving of watering errors. Which means you probably need to take a daily inventory of who needs water and who doesn't. So how much time is REALLY saved by extended watering intervals. I water about 200 plants in the summer, in many locations around the property, in less than 30 minutes every 2-3 days, and about 75-100 every 4 days in the winter. Keep in mind that I'm mainly watering bonsai in very small soil volumes every 4 days. If I didn't have time to water them, I'd reduce the number of plants I have so I did have time. Personally, the quality of the plants is much more important than the quantity.

    When I repot, I either have the pot all ready to receive the plant or keep the roots submerged in water until I'm ready. That means the drain hole covers are wired in place (for bonsai) and any wires I'll use to secure the plant in the pot are already run up through the drain holes. Usually there will be a cone of soil (shaped like a volcano) in the pot that will serve as the bed of soil the plant is planted on. When the plant is ready to go in the (completely dry) soil, it will literally be dripping wet. I'll set it over the top of the cone and twist side to side and push downward at the same time. This pushes the soil up into the center of the roots as I seat the plant. Then it's a matter of adding soil by scoop or scoops depending on the size of the pot and the scoop, working the soil into the roots so there are no air pockets. Then I immediately water until water runs clear from the drain, let it rest for at least 10 minutes, then water again.


    As a root pic, I use the tool in the middle, which is something I fashioned out of a nylon windshield installation aid. It's very hard/smooth and sort of has self-lubricating properties so it does very little damage top roots. If you're using a wooden dowel sharpened in a pencil sharpener, you might want to make sure the sharpened part is very smooth, so it doesn't catch on fine roots. I used to make several at a time because I had a habit of throwing them away with the soil I removed from roots of trees I was repotting. I would grind them to a sharp angle at work on a wet grinder, then stain them or apply floor wax & let them dry. It makes them smoother and they last longer than the ones you throw away.

    Al

    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hi Rob!!

    i have been following this thread with interest because I also like to root prune several trees.. From Bonsai to others.. Working with the Gritty Mix when Root Pruning comes easily once you have a good feel as to proper placement of the newly pruned tree. ( mounding the mix) then Gently using the chop sticks to push mix in and around. Been there too, but I have good success with root pruning and I just wanted to share with you that when I work with my mix. I wet the mix in the container right after I wire it in place (when the final mix is added). I also keep the roots wet ( moist) when pruning. After it's placed in its container, I'll take it to the sink and water my container allowing it to flow through the Bottom drainage holes to get all of the mix moistened . (This can be for any type of root pruning or repot) . To give it a good watering ( I'm careful not to move any mix). Then I will let it sit in the moist mix for a while. In the sink, tub or somewhere it can drain properly. I will water the newly root pruned tree a little extra because of the activity it received and then I will let it rest for a few weeks, in an indirect light area and still giving it moisture.. ( light waterings ) and then continue with a normal watering schedule and properly acclimating to the sun...

    So to answer your question about watering after pruning in the Gritty Mix... I would water as soon as it's placed in your new container....then water again !

    i have had my share of losses, but it seems to get better.. You do a great job with your trees and you take good care of them...

    Good luck Rob!!

    Your trees and collection are growing... ;-)

    Laura

    halocline thanked Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • 8 years ago

    Believe this or not, but I have yet to root prune anything..I have always been scared to, but I am thinking it's inevitable...This is very helpful in building up confidence!

  • 8 years ago


    Say it ain't so!!

    Al

  • 8 years ago

    I want that plastic wind-shield installation tool. Looks very useful. I usually use plastic chopstick that I grind down to a rounded point. I also find the mini pick set from harbor freight quite useful for root work.

    For most plants, I use wires attached to drain holes to secure the plant on the mound. Frees up both hands, makes sure plant/roots do not move while adding more mix and prevents any accidental uprooting of the plant in the future. I also start with putting fresh mix near the base of the plant and work my towards the edge. This way the roots are not trapped and have enough wiggle room as more mix is added. Adding mix around edges first can trap the roots. I also keep a mister handy just in case if the process takes more than say 5 minutes to complete. And a can of beer to keep me hydrated.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Rob, I have not a first clue about root pruning except for what I am reading each day..I appreciate you taking the time to help us understand your mistakes and success so we can learn from that. And Al, what can I say? How kind of him to take all this time to teach us right here for no charge...I wish I knew how to save threads like this..

    What I can tell you is that I am a pro at growing gardenia..If you did not keep your mix moist at any moment, it died for that reason..They are highly sensitive to going dry to a wilt..Once a gardenia wilts due to improper moisture, one can kiss a plant like that goodbye..Their little roots once they die off to dehydration have a harder time of recovering than any other plant I know...

    If you are using the GM, make sure to keep a close eye, always ensuring the root zone is evenly moist...Gardenia is' NOT' the perfect candidate to grow in the GM if one is lazy about watering, but it 'Is' the perfect candidate if one is dedicated to ensuring it gets watered frequently always keeping the roots moist..

    Mike)

    halocline thanked myermike_1micha
  • 8 years ago

    First off,

    Thank you all for the input. I would like to clear one thing up. The two Cherry tree's were cuttings. They were started in the smallest size little green square succulent/cacti containers using a seed starting mix, so they were ready for transplant. I also didn't do any root pruning on these two particular trees, although I would like to learn ALOT more on the subject.

    Pretty much everything you all describe are the same methods I use when repotting. - I choose a clean pot, wire in the screens (tree wires for Bonsai), create a mound of soil where the "plant" will go; then proceed with bare rooting the subject.

    Here's a look at what I use-



    I have two ordinary chopsticks of different lengths, one stainless steel, and one with a smooth finish and a very narrow point, along with a custom wooden tool I carved out of a coffee stirrer. I always keep a spray bottle handy, if I'm going to take a break I will wrap the roots with moist paper towels.

    As far as the Gardenia goes, I cut the bottom 1/3 of the roots off before removing the soil.

    One of my problems is (with Bonsai), from the time I place the tree (roots wet) in the prepped pot - to the finished product, is not always a quick process. I'm always worried about the dry Gritty Mix absorbing the moisture from the roots before I'm done. (If that's even a legitimate problem?)

    Like Laura and Al said, I will soak the tree once, then do it again 10 minutes later. I understand that when you water dry soil; the water finds the path with the least resistance, so even if you continue to soak the tree (plant) until water is freely running out of the drain holes, that doesn't mean the entire soil mass is wet. If you wait 10 mins that gives the existing moisture time to soak in and spread, therefore creating new pathways for additional water to fully irrigate the entire root mass. This is the correct way to water when using "Gritty" type soils.

    I print myself out a watering schedule. (This one needs to be updated.)



    Back to root pruning... I've done quite a bit of it, but know very little about it. I've found very limited/general info about it online. I believe most of my losses have been due to improper root pruning, or with my Gardenia; the wiring may have been suspect. Other than removing a large girdling root here and there on house plants, I had never root pruned before I got into Bonsai.

    Thanks again everyone,

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    When mixing batches of Gritty Mix, I always ensure the fir bark mixture is adequately moistened and allowed to soak up that moisture in a covered bucket before using it for potting... if that helps.

    It would be the same if you were using any other medium that came to you dry... you'd ensure it were moistened and mixed well beforehand... so any watering of the plant didn't just run over the top, down the inner sides of the pot., and out the drainage holes without benefit to the roots.

    Happy Growing!

    halocline thanked jodik_gw
  • 8 years ago

    Rob, I probably stared at that watering schedule of yours for about 5 min. All I can say you are very organized and needs the Enigma to decode that - haha. Also it is spelled Schefflera for your next print-out.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    Very important what you said Jodic. I pre mix my gritty and store it in a big container that has a screw on lid. I sparingly wet it and close it up. Leave it for at least a week or two (turn it daily) before I use it. Bark can become hydrophobic easily...!

    halocline thanked fred
  • 8 years ago

    toc - Too late.


    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    So organized, I wish I had this kind of history for all my plants. I try to keep a diary (hand scribbled on paper as a journal) of watering and repots, but am only semi successful. Tried a -bunch- of plant tracking apps for phone and tablet (iOS), all were more work than using paper, which was very disappointing.

    Sorry to keep your thread off topic but since you started it I don't feel awful ;) Probably deserves it's own thread, interesting topic.

    Daniel

  • 8 years ago

    This is what I was talking about above:

    Al -

    " I would estimate that understanding how to get soils to work for you instead of against you is a very large piece of the container growing puzzle. If I had to rate what a container gardener needs to know or be able to provide, and what part various types of information provides, it would be something like:

    25% - Understanding exactly what a top quality soil is and how to make or identify one, along with watering correctly.

    20% - Being able to provide the right amount of light and favorable temps.

    15% - Having a basic working knowledge of how plants work

    15% - Putting together a nutritional supplementation program that embodies an appropriate goal.

    15% - Maintaining the root system of long term plantings so root congestion and root issues are never more than minimally limiting.

    10% - All the 'rest'.

    Does anyone think this topic would make for an interesting discussion?

    Al"

    (I don't mean to put you on the spot.:-)

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    For Rina, who asked about the progression of wound healing last year.

    The maple with the big white wound ^^^ was chopped back from about a 10-12 ft tall tree in spring '14 as a potential bonsai start.
    Spring of '15 ^^^


    I covered the wound with moist sphagnum moss (spring '15) ^^^


    and wrapped it loosely with aluminum foil ^^^


    This is the wound today ^^^. It should be completely closed by the time the plant sheds its leaves this year, so a gaping wound completely healed in less than 3 years by applying sphagnum moss & keeping the moss wet.


    Al

  • 8 years ago

    Very nice Al. I presume don't really need paste or putty when using the sphagnum? Did you recut the inside of the callous al all?

  • 8 years ago

    Great timing with those pictures Al. Looks like the eye of sauron :) . I chopped several "trees" this year in Feb. Mainly because I did not know what to do with them and thought why not try a severe trunk chop and experiment. They include silver maple, kousa dogwood, golden raintree, hardy hibiscus ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter. But I was not brave enough - cut to about 8-10 inches though. I have not done anything to the wounds yet. Waiting for them to put out new growth if they do ever. Should I have covered the wounds with sphagnum moss?

  • 8 years ago

    Fred- you can hurry things along by using a VERY sharp tool to expose fresh green callus tissue right where the callus meets the dead tissue it's 'rolling' over, and I sometimes do that. I use a grafting knife I keep scalpel-sharp, but a fresh X-Acto knife blade, straight-edge razor blade, or utility knife blade will work well. No need for putty or paste, but I did treat the wound with water-proof wood glue, as is my habit for wounds that are large can't be hidden by other parts of the composition.

    ToC asks: Should I have covered the wounds with sphagnum moss? I'm thinking no, because it sounds like you need to wait for something to break lower on the stump and then rechop just above the new leader in the more appropriate spot. THEN you'd treat the wound. I usually don't treat anything unless it's the final cut, then I make the wound concave and smooth. The final chore is trimming the cambium cleanly with the grafting knife. A CLEAN cut cambium and sealing the wound with water-proof glue promotes clean healing. In 3 years, long before the tree is anything special, you won't be able to tell it was chopped by looking for the old wound site. The rapid taper will give it away, of course.


    Al

  • 8 years ago

    Hey Al, (Since this is my thread I'm going to go slightly OT.)

    I'm getting ready to transplant my Japanese Maple out of the nursery pot and soil that it's in, I bought it late last Summer. Here's what the root's looked like then.

    I was going to do it last week when it was in the 70's, but I had to wait for the Winter storm we just had for the past few days. I needed to put some wire on it too, but it's starting to leaf out and I'm behind schedule.

    So here's what I want to do - Get the tree out of it's nursery pot, remove some of the soil, and hope to have little to no root work (depending on advice). The picture above is a pot in pot insulation setup I devised last Fall.

    Here's a better view.

    I know you're not supposed to up-pot too big, but I'm wanting the tree's new home to be the large pot that it's mulched into, in the above photo. That way (I'm hoping) it'll have enough insulation to keep it happy for a few years. I've never owned a deciduous tree (let alone, a JM) before, so I'm elated that the little guy survived the Winter.

    There's no way I'll have time to make that much Gritty Mix, so that's out. I do have 5:1:1 material though, or I could improvise something in between. I think I read somewhere last year, that JM's like OM.

    So wha'da ya think?

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    You can pot them in 5:1:1 if you want, but you need top get moving. They should have been repotted by the time the leaves start to show. I'd also be working on eliminating instances of trifurcations in favor of bifurcations to help promote more twiggy growth. If you repot in the next day or so, you should probably reduce the top quite a bit, concentrating on cuts that remove heavy wood and leave lighter, twiggy growth.


    Al


    halocline thanked tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a)
  • 8 years ago

    Yes, I think I've removed most of the trifurcations. Perhaps I should have mentioned that, I'm not trying to Bonsai this tree. I want to give it good shape and movement, otherwise it can take as much space as it likes. I'll eliminate crossed branch's and what not. But yeah, I got to get moving! (Damn weather!)

    Rob

  • 8 years ago

    Rob what kind of a maple is that? I was struggling with maples here with warm Feb/March and then sudden cold early in April. There was a bit of damage to the leaves but nothing major. Last year I repotted (took out about a third of the roots only) of couple of regular red maples after they were completely leafed out. They are doing pretty good this year.

    Al: Thanks for the input on treating the wounds. I am experimenting with some of the deciduous I mentioned. I tried giving away those plants and there were no takers. So decided what the heck - let me try my hand at severe chopping. Hope some of them survive.

    halocline thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • 8 years ago

    toc - It's a "Sharp's Pygmy" dwarf variety.

    Rob

  • 22 days ago
    last modified: 22 days ago

    Then I immediately water until water runs clear from the drain, let it rest for at least 10 minutes, then water again.

    @tapla (mid-Michigan, USDA z5b-6a), why do you water twice?

  • 22 days ago

    "..... why do you water twice?" For context, I was referring to a plant that had just been root-pruned, its roots were soaking wet, and the plant was being repotted into a completely dry gritty mix. Why water twice under the circumstances outlined with a 10 minute (or so) interval between waterings: The pine/fir bark itself is typically quite hydrophobic and repels water. The initial charge of water saturates the Turface, coats the surface of the granite. By diffusion, the initial charge of water that remains in the soil will "break" the bark's tendency toward hydrophobia, but there will probably not be enough residual water to allow the bark to fully wet the bark (allow it to absorb as much water as it can hold). The second watering occurs when the bark is no longer hydrophobic, allowing more water to be held in the medium within the bark particles; so, more water retention with zero loss of aeration or any impact on drainage.


    This strategy is also very useful when watering rootbound plants. It is very common to find that the soil in the center of a congested root ball is dust dry immediately under the trunk, even minutes after what we thought was a thorough watering. I see it all the time. When watering rootbound plants twice, the first charge will help break the hydrophobia of the soil and allow it to absorb additional water delivered in the second charge of water.


    If roots are wet, it's ok to plant directly into a dry gritty mix if you water just after you've worked all the air pockets out of the roots by filling them with soil. It's usually always a problem to repot directly into a completely dry mix based on peat, pine bark, or both. What I typically do with the 5:1:1 mix (treat peat-based soils this way as well) is, estimate the amount of soil I need to complete the repot pour half of it into a tub or other container w/o drainage. Add enough water to make the soil muddy/saturated and stir. Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so before adding the rest of the medium. Mix well. The muddy fraction will have more than enough water in it to break the hydrophobic tendency of first half. After the second half of the soil needed is mixed into the muddy soil, water will diffuse into the dry particles, breaking the second half of the soils hydrophobia. The result is, you'll be repotting into a damp medium that will readily accept/absorb water once the repot/transplant has been completed.

    Al

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