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Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:36 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Repotting time already?

It's the middle of winter here but it has been unseasonably mild. A lot of my trees are budding, swelling or leafing. Should I repot these now? I have repotted the leafing ones (Chinese Elm). In the book it says it is best to repot when the buds are swelling nearly all the maples are doing this. I don't know if we are going to go back to cold[er] weather.

What should I do?

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


Considering that the Chinese Elm is sub-tropical and that you have already re-potted it you could bring it inside if you have a good location for it. They don't need the same length of dormancy temperate trees do.

Trees that have buds swelling can still be left, a few cold nights and they seem to slow down again. I sometimes get a few buds that break early while the majority stay tight longer. Even buds that break and remain small are not really a problem. If the trees in question can stay in their current pots another year that might be an option. Evaluate each tree individually, if you must re-pot one this early it should receive extra protection.

I would not be too anxious to encourage your trees to break dormancy this early. Are these trees in a shed or garage? Are they getting a lot of sun during the day? You might want to reevaluate your storage strategy for next year. It is best to keep them dormant as long as possible so a location that does not warm up too early is preferable.

I find that there are a few weeks each spring that I must be ready to move things back and forth but it is way too early to be doing that. My advice is to wait it out if at all possible.


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