Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

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Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  Shayn on Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:53 pm

Hi guys,

Could be a daft question - when would be the best time to repot a Metrosideros excelsa (New Zealand christmas tree)?
It seems to be an extremely hardy tree and has been growing really well in the Cape Town climate. We're in the beginning of spring now.
Since a few trees can be repotted now, I figured maybe this one could be done now too? Need opinions

Thanks,
Shayn
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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  my nellie on Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:41 pm

My experience with the species is only one year.
I bought it last October (so autumn in my country) and root pruned and repotted at that time.
It responded well like it was waiting to rejuvenate.
It really backbuds on old wood, not in predictable way though.
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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  Shayn on Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:35 pm

Thanks for your input.

I have had the tree in the same pot I got it in for about 3 years now. Its in desperate need of a repotting.
I'll post pictures of the tree when I got it and what it is now.
Hopefully someone could tell me if the tree seems healthy enough for an emergency potting.


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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  Shayn on Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:10 pm

Here is the earliest images of the tree that I could find.
Sometime early 2015


Bark in early 2015


Here it is now, two years later


The bark has aged well for two years


Top View


So, is an emergency potting fine to do now?
Also any comments about the tree itself are always welcome. Don't hold back.  Very Happy

Shayn
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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  BrendanR on Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:41 pm

Very good progress over the short while you have had the tree - nice work.

But I would repot now as I suspect there is quite a mess of root in that pot? I do not know the species at all so I cant say how they respond to having their roots messed about. But growing in a flower pot like that I would expect that the roots are probably not very well placed for a bonsai. You may need to spend a few years working on the roots and letting the top fend for itself.

Can you remove a few cm's of the top soil carefully and post some pics of the root flare.

The tree is entering the summer, and it will produce roots like mad for the next 4 months.  

Re pot it now BUT make sure you water it very well all summer.  The Cape dry summers cause serious problems for trees that have just undergone a shock such as a repotting.

If it gets enough water it will do well.  If it dries out you could lose it in one or 2 days.  So be careful.

But I think that the tree needs to come out of the flower pot and you need to start getting the roots right.  If the roots are awful there is little point in further developing the top.

Do not cut off any leaves and water it well.  Some people advcate removing leaves when you remove roots - so called "balancing the tree".  Not a good idea.

Horticultural science tells us that:



  • late spring and summer is when a tree has used stored energy from the roots to push out the first new leaves - your has done so.


  • Once the new leaves are out and beginning to harden off the new foliage supplies more food than the tree needs, and the excess is then turned into new roots - your wants to start doing that now


  • the new leaves allow masses of water to be lost through the leaves via transpiration.  That water has to be absorbed through the roots.  Your will want to do this now.


Repotting reduces the number of roots available for water absorption, and reduces the ability of the roots that are not removed to function fully.  You are responsible for compensating by making sure the tree gets all the water it needs.


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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  Shayn on Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:44 pm

Thanks for that Brendan, I appreciate those words!
I have now repotted the tree and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

The roots were great to work with. Lots of fine roots which made it easier and more comfortable to remove a healthy amount of root.
The roots were escaping the bottom of the pot and also began popping up out of the soil - so this was really needed as you said.

After having a look at the roots once most of the soil was removed, I immediately changed my mind about getting it into a training pot. The roots were already working with me here.
So I have put it in, what I think, is a very suitable pot. I'll post a quick picture - won't be the best of quality but you'll get the main idea.

So all in all, quite chuffed. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
Thanks guys
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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  Shayn on Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:45 pm

Alright here it is.

Let me know if it was a bad choice and so forth. I personally think its a decent fit for the tree.  (as I mentioned, not the best image I could have taken)

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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  my nellie on Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:54 pm

Your tree is in its develpement stage (...I reckon) so this pot is OK.
When the tree has developped enough so that you are content with it, then you should use a smaller pot.
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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

Post  BrendanR on Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:58 pm

A bigger pot is probably the right thing.

If you get good growth then after a few weeks snip off any branches or leaves that are growing downwards underneath the main branches, unless you can wire them up. It will improve the tree's appearance of age a lot.

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Re: Metrosideros excelsa Repotting

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