Timing of root pruning

Discussion in 'Maples' started by kgeezy20, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. kgeezy20

    kgeezy20 Active Member Maple Society

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    Hi all, hope everyone is doing well.

    I have several maples I summer grafted in July of 2017. The rootstock had very stout root systems, and I’m certain are quite rootbound at this point. What time of year would be best to undertake this task?

    Thanks,
    Kyle
     
  2. Michigander

    Michigander Member

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    The more ambitious the work, the more important it is that it be done when the plant is in a period of strong, active, growth. Spring is that time. Most bonsai people do it when the buds begin to swell, and are successful. I do it after the leaves have expanded and have good luck, too. My thinking is, "Where does the energy come from to rebuild roots?" It comes from the leaves, so if the leaves are fully engaged, root recovery comes sooner. Where do leaves come from? They come from the energy stored in the roots, so if you do major work on the roots you are limiting the ability of the root system to inflate the whole canopy, especially from scratch. One word of caution: Keep the plant in high light, but out of direct sun until you see new buds expanding as a sign that the roots are strong enough to support the whole canopy.

    If you are worried that the plants may be rootbound, which can be terminal, then you can slip-pot them right now. You need a new container that is big enough such that you can put the whole rootball in the new pot without disturbing any roots and just add soil below the rootball and on all sides. You also get a look at them, too.
     
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  3. kgeezy20

    kgeezy20 Active Member Maple Society

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    I am quite concerned they are rootbound. The rootstock actually had roots growing out of the bottom of the pots and into the ground (chalk that up to a lesson learned). I will plan on doing “surgery” on them in the spring then.
     
  4. Michigander

    Michigander Member

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    If the roots have escaped, they are "planted" for all intents and purposes. Leave them there, mulch with leaves up to the top of the soil line, and do your deed in the spring.
     
  5. emery

    emery Rising Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Kyle, good to hear your grafts are doing well. If they're putting on roots, that must mean they're getting good energy from the grafted tops.

    I'd pot them up to larger sizes next June, after the initial flush of growth. I wouldn't disturb roots from 1/2 yr grafts more than necessary, just check for strangling (or eventually) roots, give a trim.

    cheers, -E
     
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  6. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Although you were asking about root pruning on young grafts i have already changed my grafts which were bought in this year and have changed all the growing medium they were in and changed it to the one i have all my trees in.

    Yes i will keep my eye on the weather and move to more sheltered covered areas for protection if needed , here in the UK we tend to have more milder winters than you guys in the US but saying that we had the coldest winter for over 40 years this year and everyone survived.

    Also i do all of my pruning lifting and root pruning of my trees as of now , always have done and always will do works for me and that's all i can say on this, people might think it's wrong but it works for me and my trees, spent most of last week branch pruning (hard) and this week have started on lifting and root pruning and re potting.

    Pictures of trees that were done last fall first seven done from Sept to Dec then last two were done in June 2017, the only time i don't touch anything is in the spring , i just leave them all alone and let them flourish naturally, if it's a fit healthy tree you should never have any problems.

    You will get loads of different opions on how to look after JM and all of them will work no problems , it's just a case of playing around with different ideas and methods of growing and finding something that works best for you but most importantly your trees !!

    I have.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  7. ROEBUK

    ROEBUK Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    Pictures of how they coped over the winter and how they progressed into spring and summer.

    The last pic is of yesterdays trees that were lifted root pruned and repotted in new medium and done in exactly the same way/method.
     

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