Author Topic: Best time to repot tropical trees  (Read 5383 times)

BonsaiEngineer1493

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Best time to repot tropical trees
« on: October 31, 2014, 11:03 PM »
Guys,

I have a fukien tea and a ficus I need to repot. When is the best time? Not just slip pot, but actually work on the roots.

Thanks,

Nick  
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 11:05 PM by BonsaiEngineer1493 »
 

Sorce

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2014, 04:35 AM »
1:16 PM.   :D


  Best time is summer they say.

If they are growing, I would do it anytime.

I took a lot of roots off a ficus recently and it is doing fine.

Id like to see the Fukien again!

Sorce
 

Anthony

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2014, 08:16 AM »
Please, Please, for the umpteenth time,

China has no tropical zone, Fukien tea is Sub-Tropical - and is treated as a Sub-tropical, and if your Ficus came from China, the same applies.
It is most helpful to know where the plants came from originally.

They do need to rest, and on our side it is just about two months of no growth, sometimes a few weeks more.

The fukien teas are grown in vast fields outdoors, no protection given. However the scheme is to sell as indoor trees, big market.

Repotting,usually late spring, with no chance of Frost.

This is probably why you guys get so much sudden death, or branches going numb.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2014, 05:28 PM »
May, June, July. You asked for the best time, but under proper conditions, anytime.
 

BonsaiEngineer1493

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2014, 08:34 PM »
Larry, can you define the conditions? I want to prune the roots and place the fukien tea in a colander.
 

J.Kent

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2014, 09:52 AM »
It depends on the plant, where you live, what facilities you have for keeping the plant happy in winter, and your skill level.

If the tree is indoors 100% of the time so indoor conditions are "normal" for it, you should be able to do this at any time. 

If you live where the tree is outdoors in summer and indoors in fall and winter and you have a warm, humid place you are keeping it, you probably could repot now, but summer would always be best.

If on the other hand, your indoor location is a windowsill in your living room and a fluorescent light, I would NOT repot now.
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2014, 04:20 PM »
I prefer to work on trees by their schedule , not mine. They won't grow a lot over the winter, so I have to wonder why the urgency ? Can they wait 'til spring?
 

0soyoung

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 09:56 PM »
I prefer to work on trees by their schedule , not mine. They won't grow a lot over the winter, so I have to wonder why the urgency ? Can they wait 'til spring?

Temperate trees have a surge of root growth in spring and again in late-summer/early-fall. Hence the prime times to repot (with root combing/pruning) are 'as buds swell' and between the summer solstice and fall equinox. This behavior is driven by temperature after cold dormancy and decreasing daylight hours, resp.

It seems sensible that sub-tropicals would be length of day driven and not require cold dormancy, but I cannot figure out why a tropical plant would have any temperature/sun-light related triggers (and hence any particular environmental schedule) for root growth.

  • Why is May, June, July the 'best time' to repot these species?
  • What are the 'proper conditions' that allow repotting anytime?
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 09:47 AM »
Tropicals just grow at a faster rate in summer than in winter. They like the longer days and warmer temps. Not saying to do root work in the winter will kill a trop, just questioning the necessity. I grew trops in the southern tip of Texas, on the coast for 15 years and could re-pot and even bare root year round. It can be done, but when done in the summer, the tree responds in , say, two weeks, as opposed to maybe two months in the winter. That alone should tell you something.
 

BonsaiEngineer1493

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 11:51 PM »
Thank you everyone!

I like J. Kent's answer the best. I think it is well explained and on point.

The fukien tea was given to me this past summer. It was kept in a tropical green house before It was given to me. The reason it was given to me because it had a bad case of mealy buy. In addition, it was a risk to the rest of the collection. It recovered in my care and I chopped it down to make it a cascade. I occasionally get mealy bug here and there, but I control it. Due to bad case of mealy bug I think I may let the tree recover before pruning the roots and repotting into a colander. However now I understand that it's first signs of growth is the answer in spring or summer "it's time to repot"
 

Anthony

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2014, 07:15 AM »
Osoyoung,

you know that soil activity is supposed to shut down some where around + or - 2 deg.C [ 35.6 deg.F ] so even zone 10b outdoors in Miami can stop growth.
Additionally in Miami a tropical like a mango or tamarind will die or die-back.
Tropicals are supposed to be limited to a low of 12.8 deg.C [ 55 deg.F ]
Plus heavy rain or extreme dryness also stops growth of root and leaf.

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#

However, Fukien tea, Serrissa, Chinese southern elms, Podocarpus and Murraya p. are Sub-tropicals, as opposed to tamarinds,
mangos, or saman.
There are also crossovers, like Malphigia e. which depending on where it grows South Texas or the West Indies, can be tropical or sub-tropical.

It is easiest to just follow the work of Jack Wickle, and grow in an unheated basement under fluorescent lights, as seen in the book, Indoor Bonsai.

Trees on this island sleep from Christmas to sometimes the end of February. They can be repotted by the 2nd of January, but not the tamarinds, especially those from the seaside.

For true tropicals used in Bonsai, you would probably need a grower from the equator and somewhere close to sea level.
Our 11 deg's from the equator still has an effect on trees.
Plus many of the trees in the West Indies can exist outdoors in South Texas and Florida.
We also have the Honduran pine, which grows both in the highlands of Central America and the West Indies.

Over the years there have been many reports of the sudden death or insect infestation of - Fukien Teas and Serissas.
Fukien tea is sensitive to many insecticides, but you can get away with a systemic, however it most sensible to always have a test subject, usually growing cuttings of the mother tree.

Carl Rosner has proven that the Serissa is not tropical, as he grows them outdoors in New Jersey [ zone 7 ]
Sageretia t., is also listed as zone 7. but it also depends on how you treated the shrub during the year.

I am actually amazed that Americans, don't have tons of examples of Sageretia, especially in the Southern states at or below zone 7.
Good Day
Anthony
 

0soyoung

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Re: Best time to repot tropical trees
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 02:30 PM »
Thanks for the discussion, Anthony.

I'm not into tropical bonsai, per se, but I do have plants like peieris j. (aka andromeda) that are common landscape plants in my neighborhood which also do quite well indoors year round. Outdoors they show a definite seasonal pattern - indoors, not so much, eventhough they just sit on a window sill (i.e., no grow lights or special heaters).

Regardless, thank you for the discussion and also to you, Mr. Gockly, for your last answer.