Author Topic: Necessary Repotting...aargh!  (Read 6228 times)

Chrisl

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Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« on: October 21, 2011, 06:11 PM »
My Boulevard Cypress over last 2-3 wks has lost several small branches, mostly on the bottom of the plant.  I poked around the corners of the pot and found the substrate to be very organic, very thick, and looked like unhealthy.  So I carefully removed the tree from the pot and the roots were tan in color.  No white roots at all.  So I had to repot it.  I carefully removed at least 1/2 of the dirt from the roots.  Cleaned the pot out, put a layer of lava at base, then used 100% Turface for the substrate. 

So, I know nows a terrible time to repot.  But are there any things I should do to increase the chance of the tree?? Do you all think it'll make it?
(I read this summer here I believe where someone said the first thing they do after buying a new tree is to check the root system of the tree.  I wish I had done this, esp. from the looks of the soil and depth of this pot now)
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 08:53 PM »
So, was the soil holding too much water then?  What was the problem that required immediate action (other than losing branches)?
 

Elliott

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2011, 11:58 PM »
If the problem was root rot from too much moisture, than I would mist the foilage a few times daily with superthrive and HB101 mixture and ofcource keep the watering to a minimum. When you do water however, for the first 6 or 7 times, I would use some K.L.M. root hormone or some hormex with a small amount of HB101 mixed in.
 The misting will help the tree get moisture that roots can't do so well rite now without promoting more rot (just mist enough to get the foilage wet, don't let it get in the soil) and the hormex/KLM will help jumpstart the new roots growing. Again, assuming it was root rot.
 You can also spray the foilage with a product called cloud cover. Its actualy a very dilute acylic that will seel the foilage and stop it from losing as much moisture thru the leaves. I use that on weak trees and on new transplants especialy is its windy.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2011, 09:04 AM »
Yes Matsu, it was holding way too much water.

Elliot, I'll try the hormone and misting, Thanks for the idea!
 

mcpesq817

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2011, 11:14 AM »
You mentioned that these were smaller branches mostly on the bottom.  Is it possible that it wasn't a soil/root issue, but rather that these branches were receiving less light?  I have one of these growing in my yard, and they are very apt to shed interior or low branches that don't get light.
 

Judy

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2011, 12:30 PM »
Chris, that's too bad, I hope it pulls through.  I wonder if some bottom heat at this point would help out.  If I have an "emergency" patient, I put it on a heat mat, and find that it can help the recovery.  It'll also dry it out faster,  so you'll have to watch that ...
 

coh

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2011, 05:28 PM »
Sorry to hear this! Are you saying that you've lost whole branches (back to the trunk), or little sub-branches? Probably not from insufficient light, this tree has a pretty open structure. Were some of the roots mushy and actually rotten? The lack of white root tips alone is not necessarily a problem, maybe the plant just wasn't in a root-growth phase?

I don't have any additional suggestions except probably would be wise to give the tree extra winter protection this season...

Chris
 

Treebeard55

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2011, 09:23 PM »
Always a bummer when you have to do an out-of-season repotting.

I ended up repotting both of the yews I acquired for the "Bonsai from Scratch" contest at Stone Lantern. One was in a nursery soil that was just a swamp waiting to happen; the other had its nebari buried so deep that by the time I found it, so much soil had been taken off that I just went ahead and repotted! In both cases I disturbed the roots as little as I could manage.

Those repotting were on Sept. 11th and 23d. When the weather started getting significantly colder, I moved them both into the "Crate" in the basement, where I overwinter my tropicals. They're getting consistent temperatures in the 70's, high humidity, and light 16 hours a day. Both appear to be doing well.

Within a week or so I'm going to have to move them out to make room for the tropicals. When I do, I'll move them to our unheated mudroom, where the temperatures in winter are usually about 10 degrees F warmer than outside. They'll spend this winter there, and next year (assuming all goes well) be outside with rest of my hardy trees.
 

Chrisl

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 12:11 PM »
Sorry for the delayed response, I had Bonsai Classes yesterday and volunteered the remainder of sat.

mcpesq817, coh is right, this tree is very open and light isn't an issue. 

coh, yes, sub branches are the ones dying.  I found just the beginning of mushiness/rotten roots.  It def. had to come out of that soil.  Even if it was not in a 'growth stage', it still shouldn't have such a rapid loss of so many small branches. I think the rains came and stayed for what? 4-5dys might've been the trigger.

Judy, not a bad idea on the heat mat.  I have one and a controller so I can def. give it a try.  No harm trying.

Hi Steve.  Unfort. I don't have an area where I can provide inside protection, light and humidity.   (Darned radiator heating is so dry!)  Even in the basement where the pipes warm and dry it out.  I'll try keeping it misted and the mat.  Not much more than keep my fingers crossed.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
Chris
 

John Kirby

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2011, 10:42 PM »
so, what is the lesson learned?
 

Chrisl

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 10:04 AM »
Check out the root system immediately after getting it home?  This is the only thing that I can think of that I could've done to prevent this from needing an emergency repot. 
 

John Kirby

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 10:59 AM »
I was wondering what you would take from this. My suggestion would be to not do dramatic work on trees that you don't really know what their status is. Many demo trees die because they are worked to hard, not too hard for healthy, well established trees, but worked to hard for trees with marginal root and overall health. Personally, I would not have done so much root work on a tree that was just getting ready for a long, cold, winter. But that is just me. Hope that it flourishes for you. John
 

Treebeard55

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2011, 04:57 PM »
...  I'll try keeping it misted, and the mat.  Not much more than keep my fingers crossed.

Chris

Misting and the heat to the roots sure can't hurt!  :)

I would also use light foliar feeding, so the tree is getting nutrients without the roots having to overwork themselves in their present condition: something like a balanced fert at 1/4 recommended strength, until dormancy.

You may know this: Kathy Shaner recommends beer as a foliar feed, 1 T per gal. She also recommends not giving the trees the best beer -- it makes no difference to them! "Use that last inch left in the bottle the next morning." (Approximate quote.)  ;D ;D
 

october

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 02:59 PM »
Depending upon the health of the tree and how much root disturbance there was .. I would seriously consider protecting this tree for the winter. Meaning keeping it in an area that is about 55-60 degrees F and giving it a few hous of sun a day. If this tree is in a weak state and then it was repotted. Winter might be the nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Rob
 

Chrisl

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Re: Necessary Repotting...aargh!
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2011, 10:42 AM »
John, I totally agree.  But at the time, I thought it was healthy and ready for working.  Obv. I was wrong.  I have to know better the specific trees physiology is another take away.  But I did feel that if I had not done the repot, I certainly would've lost it.   But who knows....

Steve, I've been giving it foliar sprays already.  Just need to find a way to keep the heating mats' thermostat from getting wet in the rain.  I hope to have something figured out today....thinking a gal. sized ziplock bag.

October, this tree needs to have a dormancy period, which means from what I've gathered, no higher than 40 degrees.  I plan on putting it inside my greenhouse, and put the tree in a styrofoam box up to the top of the pot, and then mulch it in.  Also, keep a heater going set for 32 degrees. 

Thanks everyone for your insights, no better lesson learned than the hard way if this turns out bad.   But I'm with John ;), I too hope it flourishes or at least survives the winter.

Chris