quigimon
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:25 am

need tips on trimming roots, scary i know, thankful for help

ok i know I'm jumping in the deep end here, but here goes, i just bought a japanese red maple from Wal-Mart, it's smal, but that's what I'm after, my question it's spring here and it's almost 80 daily here, when's the best time(of the year) to trim roots, and what fashion should i do it in, i.e. i know that the top layer of roots is the most important, but concerns like what to do with the tap root and how far in i should cut it are the biggest concern, it's in the pot furnished from Wal-Mart and i do have plans of putting it in a bonsai pot but the roots are the biggest show stopper right now, after i figure out what is the best style for this tree i will then choose the appropriate pot but as the topic goes, need tips on trimming roots, any help is greatly appreciated thanks, oh and if it helps for climate reasons, i live in northern Mid Tennessee

The Helpful Gardener
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Location: Colchester, CT

Don't try to reduce the root mass all at once; a lot off the top, then a lot off the bottom and the next thing you know you got a dead tree. I have found gradual reductions to be safer than drastic restyling, especially in the temps you are talking about...

HG

quigimon
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:25 am

thank you, i have another question while I'm at it, i bought some "proffesional bonsai tree soil" from Boinsai boy of new york, along with shaping wire(for fall), pot and humidity tray, now the soil i have recieved looks very? plain, no meat to it, do i need to mix another soil with it, or should i continue using soil similar to what's in the pot now as the tree is so young? it looks as though it holds water nicely, when i had it outside looking at it the bag steamed up, but there just doesn't seem to be anything there holding any nutrients for the tree, but then again I'm new to this so agian help would be greatly appreciated thanks again

Joseph
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:30 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

What exactly did you buy? There are lots of different kinds.

quigimon
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:25 am

it's as described to me a fired clay and essentially it just looks like finely broken up clay pots, but, i er got impatient and wanted to get it set up so i mixed half potting soil and half clay bit's (what i call it), and planted the tree in it after the chop fest, i was a nail bitting fool while doing it, but with this said even though it's only been one week I'm proud to announce that it's not dead or even showing signs, leaves are still perky and I'm getting new buds, so for that I'm happy.
side note, i bought this tree as an experiment to see if i were capable of being able to pull this off so if it don't work that's unfortunate but if it does work out alright, that's all the better. and thanks for any and all help i really do appreciate it

Joseph
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:30 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Some species take root pruning better than others. If you cut so much as 1/5th the root structure from a New Zealand Tea tree it will surely die, sometimes in a matter of hours.

That said I am glad to hear it went well and good luck with your tree.

quigimon
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:25 am

all is still going well, new leaves forming and they are beautiful, can't wait for fall to hit to shape it I'm really excited that it is going well and thanks for help, i'll throw in some pictures eventually

Joseph
Full Member
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:30 pm
Location: Milwaukee, WI

I would recommend waiting until spring to "style" it. Most people would wait longer but I understand the overwhelming urge to work with your tree.

They can only handle one major stress per year. Re-potting and root pruning are incredibly stressful for the tree. Give it a year to grow and establish itself.

Good luck and I would love to see some pictures.

The Helpful Gardener
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Not for tropicals, Joe, but a fall prune can be very beneficial for temperate trees. Great time to reduce maples is right after leaf drop; you can see what you are doing...

S

quigimon
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:25 am

ok i may be wrong but if memory serves me right i could recall reading somewhere to shape the tree, using wire and what not to get the desired style was best to do during fall after the leaves fall off so as it's taking the shape you give it with the wire it doesn't grow around the wire, i may be wrong but if so please let me know as i'd like to keep this tree for a while and am doing my best to keep it out of harms way, but it does seem like a very hardy tree which is very nice.
P.S. I'm working on a weeping willow brach that i've gotten to root to turn into a bonsai later either next year or the year after i want it to get established before i start on it any help with that would also be appreciated, thanks.
Louis D.

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