User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Katharina,

Well your tree is root-bound, another reason to re-pot before too very long, relatively speaking. When I suggested you begin researching re-potting I did not mean to imply that it needed to be done immediately. It usually takes most folks a while to find a good soil or components to mix one, I wanted you to be ready.

I handle my Elms as deciduous trees and there is very little question as to the timing of re-potting. When they are kept as indoor trees this subject begins to become a little less certain. You are correct about further stressing a tree with problems. But if not now when? Later this spring, summer? I don't mind saying that I am unsure as to your best route. What do others think?

The roots don't look rotten to me. Is there any sort of sliminess or bad smell? If so that would indicate problems with the roots.

Be aware that watering is going to be somewhat difficult with a solid root-mass like that. Multiple waterings 5 or 10 minutes apart will help to thoroughly wet the roots.

Sorry I am not able to be more certain about this.

Norm

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Gnome wrote:
Please show us a sample of the soil you purchase before you re-pot.
Yes, Please do.
I just read your and Ynot's pieces about root pruning and got curious about the roots of my little tree. Here's what they look like:
It's Potbound, Not 100%, but note the circling roots. This issue is affecting your watering as well [More accurately the absorption of water as the rootball is compacted.]
More importantly, You need new soil. [Note the difference between your soil and the soil you can see in Randy's [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4218-]ficus-chop thread[/url]That is NOT a top dressing you see. It is the contents of the pot clear through.]
Now, I've read in some of the recommended articles that root pruning should be performed in the least stressful time for the tree. We all know that my tree's been through a lot lately, bless its heart, so don't think it's a good idea to mess with its... parts... too much :wink:
It's true that what we are talking about is stressful to a tree to be certain. However, A root pruning and some Better soil would be very beneficial.
It is not going to get better very quickly the way it is.
But then, I would like for my tree to stay in this pot, and there really isn't much space for anything but the roots...
We can fix that ;) [You are going to be losing a whole big bunch of those roots.]

[Gnome, Randy, Full root pruning vs. A pie slice root prune? { As a band-aid to regain vigor until a full repot} What do you think?

Considering the previous stresses are unknown. Hmmm, Risk vs. reward... Actually, I am leaning towards the whole hog approach as it eliminates the old soil. Best be done with it IMO. ]
What would you recommend? Will I get a larger pot for now and then plant my tree back to the pretty pot :wink: in a few weeks when it is ready for pruning?
A new pot does not address the [needing new] soil issue and you underestimate the length of the timing involved here.

It is not a matter of weeks-Repots are normally done [at the most frequently] on a yearly basis, Often there are two, Three or more years between repotting.

Please keep exploring with your research and asking good questions

good luck

ynot

Sylvia
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:22 am

Katharina,
You've gotten a whole lot of good advice. Once you get everything squared away--repotted and such--if it doesn't come back right away, don't give up too quickly. I overwintered a Chinese elm in my window well--made it go dormant, dropping its leaves for a winter rest--and let it dry out too much. I thought I'd killed it. But I put it out with my other bonsai in the spring and watered it as if it were alive. It was at least a month, when I was sure it had to be dead, that new growth started appearing. I'd lost most of the branches, but there was life and it's now working its way back. If only I had such luck with serissas........
--Sylvia

Katharina
Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:03 am
Location: Dublin; Ireland

Thanks for this, Sylvia. I actually have a good news :o I noticed yesterday that there are hundreds of little buds all over my tree :D I can't believe it's coming back so soon! The buds are still very small but some of them already turned into tiny little leaves :D I'll post some pics in 3-4 days when they are a bit more visible.

Now, I tried to find some good soil, but unfortunately all the right places were closed last weekend... I don't think I will be able to look for anything before Thursday, but then... is it safe to re-pot the tree when it is budding? And what about root pruning - I guess I'll have to put it away for a while, will I?

And one more thing - it's been 6 days since I last watered the tree. I checked the toothpick again this morning and it is still wet. The soil dried off a bit on the surface but inside it's definitely wet - no doubt about it.

What do I do? Should I still wait with watering? But then... when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here. Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right... :)

Thanks again for all your support!
Katharina

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

I can't believe it's coming back so soon!
It is not 'recovered' Katharina, it is simply replacing the leaves it has lost.

Remember, except for your improved watering knowledge...Nothing else has changed.
Now, I tried to find some good soil, but unfortunately all the right places were closed last weekend... I don't think I will be able to look for anything before Thursday, but then... is it safe to re-pot the tree when it is budding? And what about root pruning - I guess I'll have to put it away for a while, will I?
The risk/reward of the rootprune/repot is absolutely worth it IMO vs leaving it the way it is.
And one more thing - it's been 6 days since I last watered the tree. I checked the toothpick again this morning and it is still wet. The soil dried off a bit on the surface but inside it's definitely wet - no doubt about it.

What do I do? Should I still wait with watering? But then... when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here.

Let me restate your question to you, I think you will know the answer.

"My soil is still wet, Should I water?"....:?: You know the answer to this...:)
Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right... :)
See my first comment in this post.

Thanks again for all your support!
Katharina
Your very welcome.
ynot

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Katharina,
when the soil gets dry, it shrinks and hardens and it makes it really difficult for water to penetrate through. How should I deal with this issue? Will I soak it again in a day or two? I'm a bit lost here. Now, that my tree is feeling better I really want to get it right...
You have touched on one of the reasons that this type of soil is to be avoided. As you have now learned it retains water too long and is difficult to re-wet when it does dry. You will be able to re-wet it though it may take a little effort on your part. Water copiously, wait 5-10 minutes and repeat this as many times as is necessary to thoroughly wet the entire root mass. Do not be concerned even if it takes five gallons of water run through the pot, this is not over-watering. You only get in trouble if you repeat this process before the tree really needs it.

Please continue to attempt to locate a proper soil/soil components, until you do all this talk of re-potting is moot. You will also need some basic tools to do the job correctly. Some sort of pruners/cutters are essential, as is a stout chopstick-like implement, a sharpened dowel or even a pencil can help in untangling the roots. I like to use a garden hose, outside of course, this helps to dislodge the old soil and loosen the roots. Remember that the whole point is to remove that old muck that is clogging up the works. Let us know what you find.

Oh, and welcome to the new member, Sylvia. Please continue to post.

Norm

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”