Too late to repot?

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Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:37 pm

I got four different trees for fathers day, loropetalum, Acer Palmatum, Buxus, and Ilex Vomitoria. They are all large nursery trees, and I want to get them into a better soil, but I don't know if it's too late to do so. Any advice?

Mr. Carter
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Michael T on Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:59 pm

If they are in full leaf, typically yes it's too late to try and replace the soil.

Most folks will advise to repot at the beginning of spring when the trees are emerging from dormancy.

There are exceptions. I tend to repot my tropical species in the middle of summer when their growth noticeably slows, or in the dead of winter.

And some species just grow like weeds and seem to handle almost any abuse well.

I put buxus sempervivum in that category. Don't know about other varieties of buxus.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:47 pm




If you're just moving them to larger pots, go ahead. Anything else I'd wait.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Bob Pressler on Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:51 pm

Like Russell said. As long as you don't mess with the roots now you'll be ok. It's a good opportunity to study the trees and see how the grow before trying any major styling on them.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:21 pm

So when you say "moving to a larger pot" some more questions pop up. The trees are already large and I'm happy with the trunks, so would going to a larger pot he counterproductive (making it harder to put it into a smaller pot later)? I just wanted to get them out of that old nursery soil and into something more suitable, and not really worry about reducing the roots yet. So what would be the best bet for these trees? Leave them in their pots, with the old soil, and water and fertilize until early spring? Or should I try to get some of that old dirt out and replace it with a better mix?

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  marcus watts on Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:12 pm

hi,
as you have the trunks already just wait patiently, maybe start planning the tops this year as the roots are strong and un-disturbed. do a little pruning, select a few branches etc. If you reduce heavy top growth now the roots will take a decent reduction in the spring - there is no need to worry about the soil they are in atm, they will certainly do ok for the rest of this year in it.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:18 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I won't worry about the soil for now and just work on the top sections.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:35 pm



Yes, it sounds like you're wanting to do more than just "bumping them up", so it's really too late. If they are really potbound and stressed, move them up so they'll have some breathing room for the summer. It's really just to hold them over until you can do what you need to do at the appropriate time.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:56 pm

Yeah I also considered doing something like that. I was thinking that if need be, I could put them in a larger pot, and just cut the pot down to the height of the current pot, then just fill the sides with a better soil. That way the roots wouldn't grow down any farther than they already are, but would still have some growing room. Does that sound like a good idea? I'd only do that to the ones that are really rootbound. I have a feeling that the loropetalum that I talked about in that other thread will be.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  BonsaiJim on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:09 am

The problem is you potentially create an interface between old and new soil types. This can lead to root rot or chronically dried out original soil...

Unless you think it's detrimental to the near term health of the tree I would leave it to a more ideal time and take advantage of the power of an undisturbed root system to drive top re-growth. Sometime the nursery mix is so worn out and things are so bad you gotta do it anyway.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:21 pm

Thanks again. I am hoping to wait like everyone suggested, but I'm not real sure about the Ilex. When I water it, the water drains out the pot almost immediately. This is where I don't know what to do. I'm sure that it would make it until next spring, but I feel like it might be better off in some new soil.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  BonsaiJim on Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:33 pm

The good thing about yaupon are that they are pretty tough and are bottom-land plants- grow well in crappy dense soil with good moisture (think bog edge). May just be figuring out best watering technique for this one.

You can carry it through till repotting season; sounds like you may need to get invasive on this one. Sub tropical species... they can even be defoliated... you might get away with it.

Your choice- feeling lucky?

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:42 pm

BonsaiJim wrote:Your choice- feeling lucky?

Now I'm feeling a little intimidated. I may have to name this tree Eastwood.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  BonsaiJim on Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:53 pm

Mr. Carter wrote:
BonsaiJim wrote:Your choice- feeling lucky?

Now I'm feeling a little intimidated. I may have to name this tree Eastwood.

Someone told me early on you aren't really doing bonsai till you kill 100 trees... gotta start sometime! Twisted Evil

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:17 pm

If that's the case, I might end up being pretty good at this whole bonsai thing.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Rui Marques on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:57 pm

Hi all,

Some photos would be nice!

Regards.

Rui Marques
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:09 pm

I posted some pictures in a few different threads, one is named "nursery Ilex Vomitoria" and the other is "nursery Buxus". I'm not sure if they'll really show the condition of the soil or the roots though. I'll have to try and get pictures up later of that, maybe tonight or tomorrow.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  bucknbonsai on Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:18 pm

I get a lot of my stock from a semi neglected nursery. Often the trees have escaped their pots or have been in the same nursery pot for over 20 years according to the owner. They only live because of daily overhead sprinklers and misters in my opinion. I have good luck sinking them into the garden (without doing any rootwork) any time of the year (much safer than moving up to a larger pot with soil that could potentially get waterlogged) and then do the root work in the spring. In my opinion the longer you leave them rootbound the weaker they are and the poorer they respond when you do your trunk and root chops the following spring. Im not sure how long your trees have been in the pots or if you even have a yard to plant them in, but it works well for me.

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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Joe Hatfield on Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:30 am

Thought you might like this from Wiki

"Native Americans used the leaves and stems to brew a tea, commonly thought to be called asi or black drink for male-only purification and unity rituals. The ceremony included vomiting, and Europeans incorrectly believed that it was Ilex vomitoria that caused it (hence the Latin name). The active ingredient is actually caffeine, and the vomiting was either learned or as a result of the great quantities in which they drank the beverage coupled with fasting.[3][8] Others believe the Europeans improperly assumed the black drink to be the tea made from Ilex vomitoria when it was likely an entirely different drink made from various roots and herbs and did have emetic properties.[9]"


Always thought this was so cool.


Yeah, I would wait to do any re potting. I believe I am up to an honest 50 trees that I have sent to the nether. Mostly due to messing with the roots. (winterization, late repotting, over reduction, soil composition, etc.)

I have learned to do what these guys are suggesting. Wait, watch, learn how it grows. And maybe start selecting the main branches and working out a plan. Hack it back if I am "feeling lucky" Cool

I now take the time to study the tree. I have to resist strong urges, at times, to go and do something drastic or possibly harmful to the overall health of the tree. By waiting I develop more solid plans that stem from viewing, waiting, learning how it grows. I ask myself questions, about how long I have had it in full sun/shade, water, weather, bugs, soil, leave sizes, blah blah blah blah blah. You get it.

I just came to the realization this year that by doing this, I have formed more of a connection to the trees. I don't mean to sound like a corn ball but it is true. I have been waiting a year, 2 years, 3 YEARS to do initial work. And it has paid off.

Good luck!

Joe Hatfield
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  David D on Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:01 pm

I once found several extremely potbound specimens at a local nursery. I potted up one trying to keep to keep the roots intact. Despite my best efforts it drained around the old rootball and the plant started to suffer. I used the emersion method to water the remainder of the summer and the plant survived until I repotted the followng spring. The other I repotted immediately to "save the tree" , removing old soil, clipping dead roots etc. and I disturbed it too much and it died. Just on old experience I thought I would relay to you.

David D
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:48 am

Thanks for all the input, guys. Sorry, I have been super busy lately, I had assumed this post was a goner and I had already milked out all the advice I could get from it. Guess I was wrong.
Mr. Buckn, thats very helpful advice, and I do have a yard (and a raised garden bed in the works) to drop these trees into. That really might be the thing to do, I appreciate you lending me the idea. I considered doing this already, but then wondered if it'd be beneficial, because three of the trees have very nice trunks already, so they don't really need to thicken up anymore (but I guess it would hurt). So I was wondering if it'd almost be making extra work for me next year to put them in the ground, just to dig them up next year. Also, I haven't dug a tree up before, and I'm actually a little nervous to risk digging these up and possibly damaging or killing one of them...thanks to Mr. Jim Lewis Shocked

Mr. Hatfield, that is an awesome background story. I was researching the Yaupons, looking for tips and what not, and I stumbled across that...which was a disgustingly cool surprise. Root work still makes me a little scared, so I definitely won't do anything drastic in that aspect. I'll definitely take your advice, and become one with the trees and earth and stuff. Tree whisperer sounds good. Way off topic here, but I really hope you watched that Hatfield and McCoys miniseries on the history channel. It was really good.

Mr. Forsyth, thanks for sharing your experience. I won't be doing any repotting until the spring, because you guys all know a lot more than I do. The only thing I may consider is maybe putting then in the ground, but I still need some questions answered before I decide to do that.

Thanks for everyone's time.


Mr. Carter
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  bucknbonsai on Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:32 pm

being in the ground between now and then will not thicken the trunks to much or make it to hard to dig them out, it usually takes about 2 to 3 years of field growing to produce a situation of having to big of a trunk or having a real hard time digging it back out. If you just sink your undisturbed rootballs into the good soil and pull them out in the spring they will look basically the same except for lots of thin roots a couple inches long exiting out from the rootball. By doing this it will help strengthen the tree to help it survive major cutting back of top and bottom next spring.

bucknbonsai
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:35 pm

Should I tease the roots a little if it's pot bound, or just drop it straight into the ground?

Mr. Carter
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:02 pm



I'd make 3 top to bottom cuts into the rootball, maybe an inch deep. Dropping something like this into the ground for a season or two is a great option if you have the space. Just remember that you still need to water it!

Russell Coker
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Re: Too late to repot?

Post  Mr. Carter on Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:44 pm

The water will be flowing, Mr. Coker. Watering and feeding is basically all I've got until next year. Ha, when I first started reading on this forum, I would read other people's questions and the comments they'd get. At the time, it really just seemed like, no matter what the question was, the answer was always "Wait til next year". So I thought to myself "geez, I better not ask these people when to water".

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Re: Too late to repot?

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