Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

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Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Steven on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:03 am

I just picked up a few really nice looking cotoneaster from a local nursery for a great price, the trunks all have some nice shape, and are a good size for what I would like to do with, the problem is that they are all in 3 gal squatty nursery pots and are basically as root bound as root bound can be. For the rest of the year I will probably just slip them into a larger tub so I don't have to disturb the roots with a heat wave on the way, but after examining them and trying to clean off the surface a bit to see what if any potential roots it may have at the base I have determined that the entire surface is nothing but moss attached to a sold matt of roots which it looks like have emerged from the trunk which has been buried a bit too deep for many years as just beneath them I can see some nice and large what used to be surface roots before the pots were overfilled.......I guess what I am looking for is a good method to break all this up next spring and really see what I have to work with without damaging the roots at the surface too much just trying to uncover them as I think using a hook or rake would be too damaging, would a high pressure hose nozzle be my only option or does anyone else have another trick as I have never worked with something this root bound at the soil surface?

Steven
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  drgonzo on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:37 am

I almost always resort to the spray gun attachment on my hose for such work. Don't be surprised to find the buried roots on a cotoneaster are all over the place, I've gone through about 4 or 5 and have only found one with good surface roots (I was ecstatic). They look good up top but then they break your heart when you get the dirt ball off them.

None of this work should be done now, slip pot them or into the ground with them.
-Jay

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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Steven on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:59 am

Yeah thats kind of what I was thinking, fingers crossed next spring will reveal some nicer roots, if not some will probably go into the landscape and my favorite trunk and I may just spend the next few years growing some new roots, only time will tell

Steven
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Marty Weiser on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:13 am

You can probably cut the bottom off the root ball and loosen the outer edges before you put them in the ground. That will make it a bit easier to open up the rootball next year to see what you really have.

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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Steven on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:19 pm

Thanks, yeah thats what I ended up doing since I have a brief break from the heat for a day or two and room under shade screen for it to recover a bit if needed, otherwise excited for next year to see what I have to work with or if this will be a complete root remake, either way will be fun

Steven
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  marcus watts on Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:50 am

the karcher pressure washer is my favorite tool for blasting off old soil and cleaning out nursery pot root balls. probably makes the best mist spray too if you are having a heatwave - one blast can cover lots of trees.

i use it on juniper trunks too, and for removing old lime sulphur. quite a handy tool the more i think about it.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Steven on Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:51 pm

Marcus,


Does the pressure washer seem to damage the tree/roots? I do have a pressure washer of similar pressure rating to the ones your referencing, I just always assumed it would do more damage than good....but if it works that would be great. Thanks for the idea!

Steven

Steven
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  marcus watts on Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:01 pm

Steven Strickler wrote:Marcus,


Does the pressure washer seem to damage the tree/roots? I do have a pressure washer of similar pressure rating to the ones your referencing, I just always assumed it would do more damage than good....but if it works that would be great. Thanks for the idea!

Steven

Hi, i mostly use the pressure washer on the initial cleaning of landscape / garden center trees so there is a big black pot full of roots with normal potting / growing compost that needs cleaning off. I find it best to take the tree out of the pot and strap it down with a bungy cord or something to stop it moving around, then put the pressure washer on the wide angle setting which is a little more gentle. start further away and just move closer to the tree until the soil gets blasted away...dont start 3" away !! Very Happy or you will strip the bark off the tree.

i work harder from the top and it doesnt matter if tiny roots are washed off from the upper layers as you are looking to just expose the buried trunk and larger roots that will form the flare, so all the little roots on top would be cut off anyway. All the time you are working the finer roots you need are protected underneath but i still blast the underside as well, just from further away. I've used the pressure washer on many acers, beech, hornbeam, elm etc, would not do a pine with it, but would do an average juniper.

as far as trunks go the bark on a mature bonsai can take it easily - i've pressure washed my best junipers and beeches, but would not do the black pines as the bark flakes would be washed off.

try it on something expendable as a practice, and always in the dormant season not when a tree is in leaf or actively growing and you will get on fine. (a few of the top end japanese refining nurseries have these micro but very high pressure washers now and use them for all the juniper trunk and cleaning work too, so no worries about the tree being damaged)

cheers Marcus

marcus watts
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

Post  Steven on Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:47 pm

Sweet! Thanks for the info, this will come in handy next year when I start cleaning this thing off.

Steven
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Re: Safe method of uncovering buried trunk and larger roots....suggestions

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