General Category > General Bonsai Discussion

How is Root Pruning Possible?

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Points taken. However, I think the species is also critical. If you re pot a Larch after the buds have burst then you could well lose the tree. I have had it happen to me, also Mugo Pines are very sensitive when it comes to re potting, and I do them in the late summer rather than late spring as again I have lost two when done then. They also do not like pruning done in the same year as re potting. I would never re pot a deciduous species after bud break as again it puts too much stress on the tree, I have seen members of my local club re pot in most months, but I will not take that risk. Re potting does of course include root pruning.
What we need to do is cause as little stress to the tree as possible, so doing it at the optimum time is crucial, I am sure you agree. Where you are in the world will also have an effect of timing,

I agree Geoff.

All those things are likely important factors. It is just that I would like to understand a bit more about why. Five years ago I was petrified to even expose a root, just because I was ignorant and sold on the mythology I would kill any plant/tree were I to ever mess with its roots. I planted trees and gardened for many years, but was always careful to 'slip pot' them, in effect. Now I know better (just not enough). My curiousity has been fueled by the peculiar circumstances that my trees/plants survived or died over the last few years. It just indicates it isn't as simple as my present 'model' of how trees work. Life goes on and I undoubtedly will continue to kill a few trees whether I ever answer this question to my satisfaction or not.

Thanks for your help

If there is curiosity, grow for a season in a glass bowl/pot. cover the edges so the suns rays do not affect the roots, and observe the changes that occur.

From what I understand you root prune deciduous trees in spring after bud swell because the roots have transferred all stored energy up the trunk and into the new buds. At this point the roots become basically dormant so you can mess with them without stressing the tree. After the buds break and the leaves open they collect energy from the sun and then start to return energy to the roots. For a more detailed explanation you can look up "sap flow in trees". A lot of great articles, though not bonsai specific.

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It seems that many "old world trees" seem to take to repotting in the summer or most anytime really while "new world trees", (after the last Ice Age) seem to like spring only?

Any thoughts.


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