Girdling Roots - Waterfall JM

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Lisa Harry, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes.
     
  2. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Contributor

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    so true, if the gardener can just let the tree look after itself they will see how truly resilient and strong the japanese maple is.

    On the re potting front, we always did re pot end of Feb thru March before spring foliage appeared. But not a problem at all to re pot ( if it is ready to be re potted) any time of the year as the roots will never be tampered with anyway. Easy to know if it is ready to re pot as the tree will pop out like a plug, then lightly packed soil into a slightly larger pot. Never once tampering with the root system at all.
    On the other hand, If you are planning to do major root work then waiting until it is dormant pretty much guarantees 100% success rate at all times. Unless you enjoy gambling of course
     
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  3. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yep.

    ;°)

    I really must find this article in the several dozens of Bonsai magazines that are gathering dust on my shelves, the one about that "sensei" that repots its maples in June...
     
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  4. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I found an article in "France Bonsaï" N° 18, July 2000 by ZHIMIZU, Akira, but that's not the one I had in mind...

    It's more about "slip-potting", pruning the roots mildly ("star-shaped" at most if you see what I mean), than really repotting, when you can remove at least two thirds of the roots (just before bud-break).
     
  5. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I don't know what you mean.

    I'd like to know more about this but wouldn't want to ask you to explain something everyone in the Maple Society already knows. Is there a reference you could point me to?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  6. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Something like that, I use it when I have to repot my bonsai in summer. The "wedge-like cuts are a bit exaggerated. I put the tree in a wider pot and fill in the space with almost 100% free-draining soil (lava rock, pumice,...) :

    star-shaped.jpg
     
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  7. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    A nursery trick I learned, if speed is important, it to take a box cutter and make four 1/2 inch vertical cuts around the pot, where Alain has (very competently!) drawn the star.
     
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  8. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Thanks @AlainK @emery @maf @Margot i believe I will end up repotting in summer but just need to have a full weekend off work so hopefully in the next week or two.
     
  9. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Less drastic, but basically the same idea, it prevents the roots from circling the pot (if potted). A wedge-cut just allows more new roots to form, there's no need to make as many as in my sketch.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  10. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Well we all gotta learn sometime. So I took everyone’s advice and morphed it into whatever it is I did to this waterfall JM. I am one of those who over researches something and gets overwhelmed and decides screw lets give it all a try. Maybe I thought I was gonna bonsai this tree. I respect and appreciate everyone’s advice so if I didn’t follow the recommendation 100% please do not be offended its how I learn. The one advice I did follow 100% was from @Margot who may cry when she sees what I did to this tree but she was right “if I’m willing to lose it then go ahead”. So as some may know I slip potted this only a few weeks ago but it really needed more care. I believe it was doing well from the slip pot but I decided I needed to deal with the girdling root system.
    I use a grow bag with this tree and that was helpful to roll down the edges and remove soil to extract the tree root ball since it has been newly potted.
    I placed it in water for a few hours this morning (made the tree so heavy) which was an overcast day up until the last hour or so of repotting this tree.
    I removed the tree from the water and cut a third off the bottom.
    I then made shallow wedge cuts and rinsed it thoroughly.
    I then proceeded to tease out roots and rinse removing some seriously girdling roots, J roots, and so forth which as you will see left me with very little in the picture.
    The soil mix I made up for the slip potting I believe was good from what I could tell it drained very well and the tree did seem healthier in it.
    I added the water from the rinsing to the grow bag with existing soil.
    I placed the tree back into the grow bag.
    I used the soil I teased out of the root ball to placed on top of the rootball and covered more of the exposed roots as recommended by another member.
    I added the remaining dry soil and watered thoroughly with the water from rinsing it out
    I made the “pot smaller” than what it was by a few inches which is super easy with a grow bag just roll down the top
    I placed the tree on my deck which will give it filtered light and a bit of a breeze. It’s normal place in my front yard which is very strong full all day sun and strong breeze for most of the day. I’ll keep it on the deck for a week and see if it can return to its normal spot.
    I will add more soil once it settles in a day or two then I’ll add fir nuggets to the top to protect the roots.
    The rootball was extremely dense and very hard to saw through, I still couldn’t remove the stub from the previous stake its tied into all the roots. It looks like I removed a ton but in one of the pictures it shows exactly how much I cut out which is a lot but who knows it might survive.
    I’d love to hear thoughts and input - remember this is a safe space, I get I did what most wouldn’t but I tend to take a little of everything I hear and see what works. Thanks again everyone for all your support and information from personal experiences and articles I really appreciate it. I’ll keep you posted if it survives or dies. Fingers crossed I really do care for it.
     

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  11. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Contributor

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    That was some major surgery you just did!
    I would suggest keeping it in a shaded area for the next few weeks to allow it to recover. It may start looking extremely stressed in the next few days so be aware of that and that would not be unusual. Also don't over water when it is stressed as the tree may go into survival mode by just allowing it's root system to recover before you see any rebounding of the foliage.
    Fingers crossed!
     
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  12. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    thanks @Otto Bjornson do you think I should feed it a transplant liquid fertilizer?
     
  13. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Contributor

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    In all our years of re potting we have never applied any type of transplant fertilizer. Others may chime in, but I really don't think that is required.
     
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  14. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I use transplant fertilizer when potting plants whose roots I fear may have been damaged before being potted - certainly not all plants. Even though it may not be necessary, to me it is just a bit of extra insurance. I can't say how many plants I may have lost by not using transplant fertilizer but I have never lost any by using it. I think it partly depends on how valuable to you the plant is that you are putting in a pot and whether you are willing to risk it dying.
     
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  15. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Thanks for the input. All the trees mean a lot to me but this one is the one I’m willing to attempt new things. Most of the others I’d wait for perfect conditions and do the majority recommended practices. This one god love it is sorta my practice tree. It’s fairly moist now so I think I might need to wait to add the transplant fertilizer until the next watering.
     
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  16. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    You likely already know that we're in for some pretty warm temperatures over the next several days at least. I wonder if it would be useful to try and keep your precious tree cooler by spraying it with water during the day as well as keeping it is a shaded spot.
     
  17. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Might be a good idea. I typically do that to all my trees if the weather is really hot cause I tend to have a decent breeze. But seeing that this one has gone through drastic changes it might be best to do, if the weather man is telling the truth! I’ve put it on my deck so it will get shade and filtered sun I put some stuff in front of it as well to break the up the breeze.
     
  18. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Lisa Harry, good morning Lisa. Well as Otto said, that was a major operation you did there. Very well executed I must say. My only concern is the timing. But now you have done it you must ensure water from the top and bottom as it's still in full leaf. I would keep it in shade for the rest of the Summer tbh and not just for a couple weeks.
    Regarding transplant feed, I have used and still do use 'Superthrive' this is a very old tried and tested product from the 1940's. It really does help with transplant shock. Not cheap by any means but you don't use very much at all.
    My fingers are tightly crossed for your lovely Waterfall Lisa and I look forward to the updates.

    D
     
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  19. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Thanks so much for the encouraging words @Acerholic do you think adding the transplant fertilizer is still worth doing even if I have to wait a day or two cause it’s already wet? Oh and Happy Father’s Day hope it’s incredible!
     
  20. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Thanks Lisa, yes I'm having a lovely one.
    I would give it a drenching with the transplant fertiliser when it needs watering. Don't over water it to give it the feed now.

    D
     
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  21. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Well up until yesterday at about 6pm I believed this poor guy was doing great under the circumstances, really was quite impressed and optimistic . I got home from work at 3pm yesterday and my covered deck was an incredible sweltering heat but the tree still had some spring to it, colour and only one small dry leaf, and moist soil, trust me I inspect it constantly. I went out around to check it around 5:30-6pm and the heat was beyond intense and I noticed a few more dry leaves say 5 or so. I used my mister and immediately the deck felt more tolerable, not sure why I didn’t use it sooner probably cause I work in hot environments and was acclimated and didn’t feel how intense it really was. Anyway I still have my fingers crossed for this little guy but these conditions are extremely challenging. I watered it heavily the day I repotted it and again with transplant fertilizer 6 days later (soil was still moist from first watering). Ive used the mister on it for a little bit at night the past 3-4 nights. I did again this morning and will likely need to midday and evening. It has filtered sun from the covered deck as it is covered with clear / opaque plastic corrugated sheets. I block the wind with chairs and bins, it does not receive any direct sunlight right now but the heat really is intense under the deck, I believe it is still the safest space for it. I may move it towards where I have a garden shade with my younger trees but the sun comes from a few areas and I know I can’t fully protect it. All the pictures are from this morning 9am. Anyway input is always appreciated, fingers crossed. Thanks again everyone for your support.
    Lisa
     

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  22. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    You are doing everything right IMO Lisa. Nobody can be expected to be able to protect when there are these extremes.
    But you can plan for next year, as although we say extremes, this may turn into the norm in future years.
    But for now, well done for everything you are doing for your Waterfall.

    D
     
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  23. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I think it's an excellent idea to put the pot on pieces of batten : the bottom can breathe, and when the weather is hot, the water evaporating keeps a high percentage of humidity around the tree, which they love.

    I remember seeing pictures of bonsai in China, mainly Ficus, that were placed on long cement tables, each one on a socle so when water is put on the "tray-table", only the bottom is in a few mm of water. I suppose that it then evaporates during the day.

    The mister is a very good idea, particularly if your water is not too hard, otherwise it leaves white spots on the leaves.

    I don't need a mister at the moment (I suddenly find it funny when typing it, huh huh...) . We've had a lot of rain here for the past 10 days. It rains every day, it rained until 12 today, then there was a rather sunny sky, but we'je just had a shower of heavy rain that lasted about 15 minutes. We've lost about 10° during the day compared to last week, it was about 21 this afternoon. Very good weather conditions for maples...
     
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  24. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Thanks AlainK, I just wanted to be sure it would be able to properly dry out while protecting my deck and for ease of moving. But you just gave me an idea on what to do when I go to work Monday, add water to the basin. I just got a thermostat for the deck. It’s just past noon here and it read 36 Celsius and it’s still not near what it was yesterday after work. That poor waterfall had more curled up leaves and I’ve misted it a few time this morning, doing it again now I do believe it helps take the edge off. If I lost a lot of leaves due to this heat do you think it can still survive? Saying I had not root pruned it out of season?
     
  25. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Contributor

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    Oh the Horror of it. Well today it got to 40C on my deck!!! It’s almost 9pm and 30 degrees. The sun seeker that I am is loving it, the wanna be Gardner in me is almost in tears for this waterfall JM. I believe in these conditions the mister and shade cloth have been invaluable. Because I have a light breeze the mister is highly effective but sadly even though I’ve used it most of the day I feel that little waterfall took a beating. So many leaves on the top are curled up and drying. I added some water to the basin and I kept the mister on it almost all day, it has been an all day event trying to protect it. I’ve strongly considered bringing it into the house where there is central air, however bringing the trees into the dining room does seem wrong in a sense but what to do when I go to work? Maybe leave the mister on all day a bit of a distance and let the breeze help out a bit. Hopefully it doesn’t totally tank I still have hope, little but it’s there. I just wet the leave tonight and took these pictures so some of the droop is from water.
     

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