Fall root pruning?

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Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:06 am

Hey everyone! I'm new to this forum and love what i see! A lot of great trees and information here!
I just picked up a fairly large Euonymus alata Compactus from a local nursery today. It is in a 3 gallon pot and from what is visable a 3.5 inch trunk but the roots are VERY compacted and as hard as a rock.

Knowing burning bush only put on one push of growth a year I was wondering if I could do a light root pruning now in hopes that the roots will recover this fall and I will get the best push of growth come spring?
I am in zone 7a and the leaves on the bush have not started to turn yet.

There isn't a whole lot of information on these bushes other then prun back hard and wire young growth early. There aren't a lot of them as bonsai either. I wonder if this is because of only the one push of growth they have a year.

Thanks in advance for your help!
Kevin

Kevster
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  my nellie on Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:50 am

Hello!
You can read about "Fall Repotting" on the website of "Evergreen Gardenworks" (article by Brent Walston). Cannot contribute more since I am into the "novice" part of IBC. This article may solve your questions, though.

my nellie
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:05 pm

Thanks my Nellie!
That was very informative. Though I am in zone 7a I think I am going to do a little root work and repot this bush. It almost never gets as cold as that article says to watch out for and burning bush is very hardy so I'll take the risk.

Thanks again!

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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  coh on Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:48 pm

I picked up a similarly root bound euonymus (though overall smaller plant) last fall. Kept it in the pot through the winter and then cut the root system and top way back this spring. Plant responded with a good amount of growth this summer, so that's the approach I'd suggest...why risk the root work at this time of year if you don't have to?

coh
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:00 pm

Coh thanks for the reply!
I was hoping for someone who had one to comment.
After doing some other reading I think you are right. It's not worth risking the health of the tree. Maybe slipping it into a bigger pot to help protect the bound roots through the winter?

Kevster
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  JudyB on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:56 pm

Keister, you knew the answer before Coh posted the answer. You always need to do the best thing for the plant, even if you really want to "do" something. Doing things at the wrong time will only set you back anyway... Very Happy

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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:21 am

Judy you are right. I did know the answer.
I have been reading a lot people do fall potting and how much better it can be since the tree will be recovered by spring it gives that much more new growth.

Even this link given above earlier (http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fallpot.htm) recommends fall repotting, minor root work and planting if you are in zone 8 or higher or your winters don't get into the 20s. I am zone 7a but zone 8 is 15 minutes from my house lol. And the last time we were in the low 20s was probably 10 years ago.

But I am going to play it safe and not do it. But next year I'm going to buy a few 1 gallon sized trees just to experiment with.

Curious though, did you read the evergreen link Judy? If so what do you think?

Kevster
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  JudyB on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:02 am

I did, when I really really really wanted a reason to do fall work on roots that I knew was the wrong time to do it. I wanted someone to be saying, it's ok, go ahead. (which it def. didn't say...) When really it's at best very chancy in cold climates, and on unestablished trees, not really safe. I think that those who do it, are doing smaller work than cutting into large containerized rootballs or digging up collections, or large scale work. Or they just know their particular tree better.

It's all about knowing your plant and doing what it needs. If you don't know your date well, you don't try to kiss on the first date.... But after a year of dinners, then all bets are off! Razz

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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:20 am

L
M
A
O
JUDY that is lol exactly the answer I was looking for. Thank you very much for slapping me at the dinner table and making me laugh at the same time!

Kevster
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  coh on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:10 am

Kevster wrote:Maybe slipping it into a bigger pot to help protect the bound roots through the winter?
Probably not necessary. You could dig a hole and slip the pot into it for the winter, or mulch it, or store it in a garage or shed. One thing to be aware of - I had another potted euonymus a few years ago, left it outside for the winter. Buried the pot in the ground. Voles or mice completely girdled the lower trunk. I don't know if they're particularly attracted to euonymus, but none of my other trees had any significant damage that winter.

coh
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  marcus watts on Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:50 am

Early signs of autumn here and yesterday I repotted 2 of my nicer broadleaf trees. One had a 50% reduction in root height to get it lower in the pot, and the new pot was a lot smaller too. Many people are getting good results repotting this time of year as root activity is still happening but top growth has stopped so no aditional demand is placed on the reduced root system. Transpiration is lower too as we now are having heavy dews, moist air, mild with drizzle etc....all perfect weather for supplying the top of the tree.

Last spring I needed to heavy root prune and pot several nice deciduous trees and the buds just stopped developing for 5- 6 weeks while the roots recovered and regrew. The knock on was 6 important weeks with no (or minimal) fertilizing as well, so development and ramification was severely held back on these trees. So I would say you need to decide if the actual tree will benefit from being settled for the spring flush of growth or not - if it is totally raw material it will be years before it comes to much so you may not gain much from potting it down 6 months early, (one of my trees is planned for a 2013 spring show, it needed to be in the right pot, but also needs the spring growth hence repotting yesterday.)

Bonsai is at an exciting development stage - the old books and rules that many people lived by are proving to be wrong in many cases (or not the best way to do it )- partly from mis translations in the early days, partly from being written by self taught pioneers who had read the mis translations maybe? New comers to the hobby have quite an open mind and want to know why things can and cant be done at certain times - when truth is there is no actual physical reason why you can not work roots on many hardy trees in autumn - keep the pot from waterlogging and the new roots protected from very low temperatures so rot is not induced. Young container grown material has far more vigour than old mature bonsai too, you can do a lot more while learning on them.

cheers Marcus




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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  Kevster on Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:39 am

Chris
I have an insulated shed I over winter my deciduous trees in. I have had problems with squirrels in past winters chewing my bark.

Marcus
I think a lot of the methods used today may be out dated and if you read any bonsai book from the 70s and 80s this alone will show how much our techniques have changed.
Where I live we still haven't seen any signs of fall yet except the temperatures are very slightly cooler and normally don't see any changes in leaf color till mid October. We typically don't get freezing temperatures till mid November. This is why I thought I might have been able to get away with a fall repot.
Our summer just ended September 3rd.

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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  my nellie on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:36 pm

Marcus, thank you for your insight.
I am preparing for some fall repotting, too and the reason is :
marcus watts wrote: ... ... as root activity is still happening but top growth has stopped so no aditional demand is placed on the reduced root system. Transpiration is lower too as we now are having heavy dews, moist air, mild with drizzle etc....all perfect weather for supplying the top of the tree... ...
Maybe you are interested to know that here in Greece the gardeners used to do their repottings mainly in autumn, they still do.
I remember my mother doing the same to some of her numerous flowerpots if she decided that the soil in the flower pots had to be changed

my nellie
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Re: Fall root pruning?

Post  RainierBonsai on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:13 am

I have a white pine, black pine, shimpaku juniper, Pygmy maple, and yatsubusa maple to repot from garden containers. The more I read, the more I can't decide. I live in western Washington and its pretty mild. We've had more and more bog storms and long freezes over the last couple years........ If I don't care about next years growth as much as I care about survivability......should I just wait until early spring to repot?. Should I do the pines and junipers soon, and the deciduous stuff next spring? Started up again this year with 16 trees, having lots of fun.

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