Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Owen Reich on February 16, 2015, 07:49 PM

Title: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on February 16, 2015, 07:49 PM
Hello All, as repotting season rapidly approaches, I've been wondering what kind of success rates people have had with the "bare-root half" technique on conifers.  As a disclaimer I'm not going after the validity of this technique.  Just curious how many have had trees suffer, jump into high gear (vibrant health), lose limbs, saved a tree from stress, etc. 

I've never done it, but work with a number of people who do.  Photos during repotting are difficult, but any are appreciated of trees repotted in this manner before and after or just comments. 

The other questions are:
How did the tree(s) do after the other half was repotted?
Are there specific species of conifers that have been deemed not suitable for this repotting method? 
Is the tree left alone for an extended period (say longer than a year) after the second half is repotted?
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 16, 2015, 10:05 PM
Owen, I've done it several times. Really works well.

There is a picture of me beginning to do the "other" half of a tree that was half bare rooted before.

I'll see if I can find it. But the side that had been bare rooted before was full of mychorazzae. The side that was the old soil was brown and yucky.

Boon took a pic and posted it on Facebook.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on February 16, 2015, 10:39 PM
Thanks.  One more quick question; do you find it a challenge to water with half more free draining and half not?  

Going to give it a shot on a pine I was just given; Naka designed it and it's likely previous owner hasn't repotted it since....  Will post pics when I get it out of storage.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Dan W. on February 17, 2015, 01:00 AM
Owen, what is your usual method?
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 17, 2015, 01:18 AM
It's not Any more of a challenge to water than any other normally repotted plant with a more solid root ball and free draining fresh soil. Water until the old soil is wet throughout. It's virtually impossible to overwater the fresh soil. Water runs right through. 

I have a Western Juniper that we're replacing the old field soil using "half bare root" technique. But, since it was yamadori, we just did a "third" bare root. Two down, one to go. We're also changing the planting angle, so doing it by thirds lets us change the potting angle in stages.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: DorianJF on February 17, 2015, 01:46 AM
Please excuse my ignorance but this technique sounds interesting.

Anybody have some links or information so that I can understand the technique and what it is all about.  Been searching Google and cannot find much.

Thanks.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: FrankP999 on February 17, 2015, 03:29 AM
Adair, this is a really great photograph.

Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Sorce on February 17, 2015, 05:28 AM
Nice,

Adair, do you water the new half more frequently?
I never really understood how to care for these halfbreeds!

Thanks
Sorce
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 17, 2015, 09:13 AM
Thanks, Frank, that's the picture!

The white soil is full of mychorazzae. That's the half that had been done previously. The dark half was the old potting soil. I removed all that when I did the second half bare root.

The new soil stays dryer, since it is in free draining soil.

This tree was watered by Boon's automatic sprinkling system. So, no special care was taken to water each half separately.

That's a JBP, by the way.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: FrankP999 on February 17, 2015, 10:08 AM
Adair, I actually grabbed that photo from your facebook pages. However, I know I have seen it before somewhere else, just can't remember where.

Good example of the technique.

Frank
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: SHIMA1 on February 17, 2015, 03:35 PM
Hmm he said, scratching his chin. I remember when this method first appeared but not whose idea it was. Saw it on Bonsai Tonight too. Using angled tweezers. The mycorrhizae says it all.
Was it Hagedorn?
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on February 17, 2015, 03:37 PM
Dan, if you watch Bjorn's YouTube Series Bonsai Art of Japan Episode 26, it details the way I repot most trees.  Got in a lot of trouble filming that one.  We don't like to leave the root systems in open air too long.

As for plants in nursery production media, I do something similar to the above video, but usually take the bottom 1/3 or 1/2 of root ball off if plant can handle it first.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 17, 2015, 04:11 PM
Just so we are all singing from the same hymn book, we don't do a half bare root repot every time. It's when the tree has to be removed from old, poor soil. Like regular nursery mix. Or potting a yamadori and changing the soil to bonsai soil.

On a standard repot, where the tree is already in good soil, just do a standard repot. No bare rooting at all, except for teasing out 1/2 inch all around the root ball. Except on the bottom. It should be flat and smooth.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: LanceMac10 on February 17, 2015, 05:31 PM
I'll be repotting a JBP soon and I'll be sure to document the process. I acquired the tree from an older friend whom ran into some health problems and could no longer care for it. The soil is very slow draining so I think it's been a good stretch between root work. Should I try this "half-bare root"? I've got my "Boon mix" ready but I'm unsure if spring will ever come!!
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 17, 2015, 07:45 PM
Probably. Looks healthy, needs cutting back. A different pot, too. I
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: John Kirby on February 17, 2015, 09:15 PM
I have been doing it for almost ten years now. One key point is that you do root and soil reduction all the way around the trunk. You bare root then 1/2 (eg, the front 1/2 if the tree, from the core out. You have a greatly reduced root mass in the remaining 1/2 of the tree. The reduced water uptake of the barerooted side balances out pretty well with the reduced root pad on the opposite side. If you use really hood repotting medium, you have eliminated the need to clean out the core for a decade (or decades).

This technique has had spectacular results for me, a great way to resuscitate weak trees and ensure optimal growth/health for trees being refined.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on February 17, 2015, 09:50 PM
Thanks for the feedback Adair and John.  Will do it on the pine I was just given and keep everyone here "posted"  :P.

Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 17, 2015, 10:25 PM
Owen, when picking which half to bare root, choose the side with the poorest roots. They'll benefit the most from the new good soil.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: augustine on February 18, 2015, 09:45 AM
Owen,

John Kirby showed me his technique and helped me do this on a Japanese yew (in an organic nursery soil)  last March, great results. I then repotted two pines and two junipers in the same manner.

All very good results. Trees did not sulk and grew well.

Best regards,

Ray
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: LanceMac10 on February 18, 2015, 01:12 PM
As far as the Pine I posted, I've planned a spring repot. I had not planned on any pruning until summer 2016. It was my understanding to leave as many needles as possible to aid in the forming of new roots. Am I mistaken? I have been trying to source a new pot, but have not found anything I thought suitable. Shallower? Wider? I would really like to get out West to work with Boon and Adair, (if you happened to be there!). Alas, I waited until my 40's began to have a kid! Don't laugh!! So, no money to hand for a trip to California. Any small pointers are appreciated. Here's to spring, it should arrive in New England in about TWO MONTHS!!! Have a great day, and a better tomorrow!!
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: John Kirby on February 18, 2015, 02:30 PM
Lance, lot's of folks in NE can help. PM me and lets see if we can't get you with some help. John
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: bwaynef on February 18, 2015, 02:55 PM
Anybody have some links or information so that I can understand the technique and what it is all about.  Been searching Google and cannot find much.

Check out Boon's repotting dvds.  I'm not POSITIVE he does a 50:50 bareroot, but I bet you won't be disappointed.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: DorianJF on February 18, 2015, 11:09 PM
Thanks Bwaynef.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 21, 2015, 02:01 PM
On FaceBook, Boon posted a huge California Juniper "reboxing", that got half bare rooted.

Pictures are worth 1000 words...
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Dan W. on February 23, 2015, 11:28 AM
Thanks Owen. Yes, I was referring to removal of nursery, or field, soil for conifers. I've actually done both ways at Michaels. He will generally do exactly as John mentioned: Reduction of soil mass and combing all the way around; then bare rooting half. The other half gets it the next time around. I fully agree there is no reason to bare root a tree in good soil. At Kouka-en, do you just leave field soil inside good soil for collected trees?

For the less experienced readers.. Healthy deciduous or tropical trees with field soil get a full root job and washing at my house...lol. Then they go into man in-organic mix.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on February 23, 2015, 01:57 PM
At Kouka-en, we rarely repotted or acquired bonsai with field soil still attached.  Even field grown trees and shrubs grown for bonsai were washed of field soil and repotted before we got them.  I'm confident we would not leave it in the center mass of the tree as the "heart" (core of root mass under the trunk) is important for the health of a plant.

We did on occasion get trees in large terra cotta or grow boxes with crappy media throughout the container; generally from hobbyists' collections.  We would bare root as much as possible for a given species, perforate the root mass, and plan on another more aggressive repotting in 2-3 years. 

Such is the way of things at a more specialized bonsai garden. With the black pines in the worst of media conditions, we bare-rooted sections with patches of dead roots and whittled away at the old media.  It really depended on the ratio of foliage to root mass when removing the old media.  As much as possible.  Junipers' root systems were always kept more intact, but perforated more.  The rambling nature of juniper roots on collected shimpaku lead us to cut less larger roots and clean out around them more.

We do not mess with the surface roots on Ezo Spruce; they tend to stall for a year or so if the surface roots are raked.  Given that we never did it, I can't say that it does.  Given my teacher repotted a ton at Mansei-en I am inclined to believe him  :).
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Adair M on February 23, 2015, 02:10 PM
Good to know about Ezo Spruce. That's the thing about bonsai:  there are the general set of techniques that most trees tolerate 98 percent of the time. And then, there is the other 2percent!
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: SpongeMann on February 28, 2015, 11:23 PM
Hey guys. Cool thread. All my florida  conifers that I collect are barerooted. Only because they grow in  90%sand out here. Once you get it out of the ground the soil crumbles.  My conifers take the transplant real good. Do you guys have any tips for stopping sap flow. I have one transplant that was a little too late. I used wax ,which seemed to help.
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Markyscott on March 02, 2015, 11:25 PM
Here's an example.  This is a Western Juniper I started working on about 3 years ago.  It was potted in the original field soil when I  purchased it.  I bare-rooted 1/2 and took a photo 2 years later when we removed the rest of the field soil.  I attached a photo of the tree at purchase and a picture of the roots during the second repotting.  I think you can see a nice improvement in the roots on the side that was originally bare-rooted.

- Scott
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: Owen Reich on March 03, 2015, 12:50 PM
Nice tree and photos.  Thanks
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: coh on March 03, 2015, 04:46 PM

We do not mess with the surface roots on Ezo Spruce; they tend to stall for a year or so if the surface roots are raked.  Given that we never did it, I can't say that it does.  Given my teacher repotted a ton at Mansei-en I am inclined to believe him  :).

Does this apply to ezo spruce specifically, or to spruces in general?

Chris
Title: Re: The "Bareroot Half The Tree" Technique Survey
Post by: John Kirby on March 03, 2015, 05:00 PM
Chris, have done this with Ezo, Black Hills, Sika, and Colorado Blue Spruce. Only to get them out of mountain soil or nursery can mix. The Ezo we work with in the US, that I have seen are not the ancient specimens you see in Japan, but they do slow down. The others haven't missed a beat. But again, we are talking about getting trees out of muck and into a decent inorganic medium. On really old/weak trees you could reduce the 1/2 barefoot to 1/3, but keep good notes.