Up potting

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Lisa Harry, Apr 27, 2022.

  1. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Hi @Otto Bjornson yes I’ve seen your videos they are very helpful. I used them last year to help me up pot most of my trees and all has been well. The mix this year was similar to last year but I forgot to write down exactly what I did and to be honest I am finding that I forget a lot since recovering from covid. This mix has equal parts peat moss, fur compost bark mulch and less than equal sand. I threw a handful of store bought ready made mix and a handful of pumice for good luck. (Last year I threw a handful of perilite as well, I have small hands really none of that should make a big deal). Water does drain through the holes when they were watered but it seems to remain very moist especially the one in the shade. The liquid transplant fertilizer is the most common in garden stores right now I’ll look it up. If I did spike them should I add anything like sand or perilite to absorb some of the moisture?
     
  2. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    And what type of "liquid transplant fertilizer" are you using? @Otto Bjornson I'm using this one and have for all other trees. Last years up potting was successful so I’m confused why things dont seem right this year. Maybe it’s the poor weather and I just happen to be around more to notice it.
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  3. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    sounds like water is having a difficult time dissipating thru that pot in the shade.
    Perhaps a combination of the roots under stress and water not getting thru they system as efficient as possible.
    Why not try spiking that one, don't fill the spike holes, just top dress with your existing soil to keep any insects from crawling in.
    See how it looks after 7 - 10 days.
    And only water as required. Give it a good watering and make sure it is flowing right thru the pot.
    Then try spiking the remaining if you see good results.
     
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  4. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Interesting to see what kind of mix Otto uses, and his maples are great, so.

    I use other mixes, but I use what's available here, and I think the secret is simple: well-draining (and slightly acidic) soil.
     
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  5. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Hey @Otto Bjornson @AlainK @Acerholic I think I must repot my rising sun. The leaves on the lower and top are starting to brow badly and we have had very little sun. I believe it is root rot as it’s all very wet. I would like suggestions on if I should try to amend my existing soil by adding more sand, perilite or fir compost mulch? Or make a new mix or just use regular potting soil? I really think if I wait any longer it will die. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Also there are tiny spiders all over it? I believe my other tree is managing because it was much more pot bound and is exposed to more sun. I used maybe too much peat? Maybe too little sand this time? The fir compost mulch that I have that is extra is also very wet and it’s in a plastic bag placed in a container, maybe I need to use a chip or nugget vs compost bark mulch. Thanks for any input.
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi Lisa, 'you are' having troubles with all that rain !! Yes IMO it is too wet and the leaves are telling you that. But regarding a repot now, this might cause it more stress atm. So my thoughts are to move it to a covered area to allow it to dry out. Failing this then a slip pot into a very very loose mix may well be the way forward. How are the drain holes at the bottom of the pot BTW? I like to have more rather than less. So if you can do it with your partners help , some extra holes drilled now will help. Remember maples are shallow rooting, so any drilling will not touch them. This will alleviate any soggy compost.
    Just to mention, do not be tempted to feed.
     
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  7. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    IMO it is a combination of the root damage caused by the root eating grubs you removed when you repotted about a month ago, and the mix not being free draining enough.

    If you leave it be you are leaving it to drown, and there may even be more of those grubs munching on what remains of the roots. It has only been in the new soil a month and as the new soil is too wet the roots will not be expanding into that zone so you have nothing to lose by removing the pot shaking or washing off the new soil and checking the old rootball for more of those grubs. Then repot with a new more free draining mix. I know people will say it is stressful to disturb the tree again to which I would say it is often necessary to take drastic measures to remedy a bad situation.

    I like to use "wet" and "dry" ingredients in my potting mixes. For wet think peat, compost or commercial potting mix and for dry think perlite or course grit. Bark chips or nuggets are on the dry side so replacing them with fir compost or bark compost will not work. Aim for a mix of wet and dry ingredients that looks right to you, the exact proportions do not matter. I am on the fence about sand in large containers. If it is very course sand then it will help with the drainage for sure (where do you draw the line between sand and grit?) but fine sand tends to fill all the voids in the mix and can cause oxygenation problems depending on what else it is mixed with.
     
  8. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    Seems tree is battling conditions on all fronts. Those brown tips could be the result of the couple of full sun days we had last week. Generally, we always see burnt tips about a week after being exposed to full sun on young trees that should be living in a shaded environment. That "rising sun" (full moon) looks to me like it should be in a permanent shade location. Almost every full moon will develop those burnt tips with sun exposure.
    Add to that grubs feeding on the roots as @maf mentioned is likely creating the scenario of the roots just not being able to get enough moisture up into the limbs. That of course leads to the pot being saturated with moisture.
    And also as @maf said, time for emergency surgery here and get it out of the pot, remove the soil, check those roots closely and then repot.
    Then a permanent shady spot for recovery and location.
     
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  9. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks @maf @Otto Bjornson @Acerholic Im gonna try to switch it today, I’ll make a new mix. The tree is currently in shade, I moved it from last years spot which was full sun all day. It held up extremely well even in the heat wave it had no brown leaves or signs of stress so I feel it’s more it’s pots conditions, hopefully it’s not too late. I’ll take pictures if I can. Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  10. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Well, @maf @Otto Bjornson @Acerholic all your input and suggestion are very much appreciated and I’m sure very correct. Not too sure what I did today but all I know is I made one hell of a mess and took way too long to do it.. I had great intentions - simple mix replace old soil with new soil and leave tree alone - pray. Once I got into it there were grubs, and I became obsessed with getting them out, then of course I didn’t have any pots on hand so I just had to put it in what I had. I have pictures of the process, I did test the soil I made to see if water came out the drain holes in a reasonable amount of time and it was successful. The soil I removed from the tree was very wet, my intention was to remove the soggy bottom of the tree. Anyway it was on deaths door before I got to it so we will I’ll keep you posted.

    Soil Mix - **most** Compost fir bark mulch, **bit less than compost** Bark mulch (fir/hemlock), **half of bark mulch**peat, **10-20%**construction sand, ****10-15%***pumice.
    Soil mix. Soil mix squeezed. Soil mix loose
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    Soil removed from Tree with grubs when squeezed you can seem some moisture it would drip.
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    Loosening of soil manually and with water, some root trimming
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    New pot for tree, will need to cut the excess pot off or. Is it fine to leave it? root ball fits in diameter but pot is too deep
    So I added about 2” soil to bottom of pot placed tree in and filled sides, added water and placed in more shady location. Sun is super high right now so tree is getting minor sun for a little bit it will pass quickly.
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    So its a praying thing now.. I did water it with regular water - no fertilizers or transplant shock liquid. Should I try to keep it most because of all the work or just water as usual?

    Thanks again for all the support. I’ll let you know how it goes, I hope I got all the grubs but not sure.
     
  11. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Well done - you did the right thing as those grubs only had one restaurant available and it was the Rising Sun!

    Soil mix looks fine as far as I can tell from pictures. No need to cut off excess pot height either, it does no harm to the tree.
     
  12. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks @maf I didn’t fully make the roots bare but I did a fair bit, hopefully we got all of them. Honestly with still recovering from COVId I just didn’t have the energy to do more it took me 5 hours to do that which is ridiculous
     
  13. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Have a good rest now, you've earned it!

    As long as you did not allow the roots to dry out the five hours won't matter. Hopefully in time you will be surprised by how well the maple responded to the treatment.
     
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  14. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    I did hose it down a couple times and the sun was off and on. I. Think we will be ok.. fingers crossed.
     
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  15. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    looks like you got it in and out of the trauma tree ward with plenty of care and precision. Keep us all posted!
     
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  16. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks @otto looks like I have the other tree that up potted as well to do the Ara Kawa has just stared to show similar signs of stress. I did something very wrong to this last mix of soil which is sad cause the ones last year were a perfect mix. I wish I wrote it down( I actually did but lost the file in my computer. I may just go buy a package of a store bought Promix to fix this one. I used it on my rescue tree and it’s fine. I think the store bought container soil I used to add in this last batch was not the correct product as it lists a lot of peat moss and I already add that to my mix. Fingers crossed I don’t lose two trees
     
  17. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    That mix looks plenty loose enough Lisa. I don't use sand in my mix, tbh I find it gets too claggy with other ingredients and does not allow the water to run freely. I would have substituted the sand for horticultural pine bark chips. But each to their own.
    Let's hope what you have carried out does the trick. As Otto said, do keep us all updated.
     
  18. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks @Acerholic I find it quite challenging to find pine bark here so fir bark mulch and fir compost mulch are what I could access. I tried last year to find pine and was at my wits end but @Otto Bjornson who isn’t too far from me said I could substitute with the fir. So this recent mix has that as well as some peat and pumice as well as a bit of sand.. The pots I did last year faired very well and all had sand but no pumice. Im feeling pretty discouraged right now cause I believe I should fix the other three I did before as well the Hana Matoi, Coral bark and my Orion. They aren’t really showing sign s of stress but their soil still sees too wet. They are in grow bags I”m gonna pop them into new actual containers soon, maybe I’ll just add some perlite to help absorb the moisture. it would be a straight transfer no messing with anything.. That Hana Matoi was bare rooted when I did it a month ago so I really can’t mess with it. The plants and trees I did last year in grow bags are also still ok with the mix I made so it has to be this one I just did.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2022
  19. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    If "construction sand" is mainly quartz, OK, but the particles sould be rather coarse (2-3 mm at least). Here, it's rather calcareous, it's mainly sand from the Loire river, it is extracted a couple of miles downstream where I live for instance. The pb is that with fine, calcareous particles, it tends to agglomerate. When dry, it looks a bit like concrete.

    Pumice is good, I would use 20 to 30%.

    My 2 € cents worth...
     
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  20. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    WOTNONG - so I was able find this guy as mentioned before, but finally found a pot to put him in. Honestly at this point I think I gotta stop anything to do with potting. I’ve never had a tree in a sack. I know that when in ground planting you often leave the sack on, I didn’t think it was the same principle with container potting. So I used a regular container potting mix I’ve used for other plants and so forth but added a bit of pumice just to make sure.
    I put him in the pot and felt awesome it’s just wide enough to fit him and a bit deep but I don’t have to fill it, I was happy with the size I prefer shorter more wide pots. This 12” high x 15.5wide. The trees root ball in the sack was 9” high x 12” wide I figure great that leaves me three inches of pot on the top should I choose to apply mulch. I put some soil in pot to where I wanted tree to sit all was well till I took off sack. The soil was clay like and fell apart leaving me with a much smaller root ball - honestly a 3 gallon pot at most would have been fine. I have a video appt so I said screw it and just left it in the pot but removed the excess clay like soil that fell off trying to keep some sort of rootball, honestly I saw like no roots. I applied the liquid transplant fertilizer and placed in shade cause omg it’s sunny here today and warm. We will see how this underdog turns out. I have had a couple trees I’ve up potted that were in a clay loom type soil but they never fell apart and have done well in the soil I added to them.
     

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  21. AlainK

    AlainK Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Looks nice... ;-)
     
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  22. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    A lovely specimen Watnong Lisa. Perfect for that pot. Do clear the soil away from the trunk though. Glad you added extra pumice.
     
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  23. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks D. Thanks for mentioning the trunk I was wondering I already made it lower than it originally was but wasn’t sure how low I should go? This shape of a pot is much easier to pull out and root prune than some of the others I have
     
  24. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    High enough to see the top of the roots over the soil. This then ensures the trunk does not rot over time from the soil up against it. Planting too deep is a recipe for future problems Lisa. Too deep also encourages girdling.
     
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  25. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    ARA KAWA - ROUGH BARK JAPANESE. MAPLE. 2nd Up Pot… So this is the other larger potted tree that I recently up potted and it started to show signs of stress.. Granted we had today and yesterday 24 Deg. Celsius weather and prior to that it was 10C so everything is a bit off. My mother came over to help me, all we did was dig out the soil around the root ball, then pulled out the tree. It didn’t really have any new feeder roots like we saw on the Rising Sun and they were up potted at the same time, however the rising sun was not nearly as pot bound. Ara Kawa may have been struggling to absorb anything from the new soil, this tree was never at risk of grubs nor did I see any. The new soil on the sides seemed very moist but honestly it didn't seem that bad, it was still very loose. The bottom of this pot smelled and was compact and saturated, @Acerholic will be happy to know I did add more holes to the bottom of this nursery pot and rising suns nursery pot. As it is incredibly pot bound and it appeared like it hadn’t grown any feeder roots and wasn’t absorbing anything we decided to cut a straight line through the surface roots from the bottom of the root ball to the top, we made maybe 8 slices. We used a garden fork to remove the soggy bottom, loosen the root ball to accept some water and fresh soil. I also at the recommendation of @Otto Bjornson ran a spike into the top of the root ball down a number of inches I think I only had a 6” spike I could have used a 12”. We then added no more than 2” soil to the bottom of the pot, placed tree in pot and added soil, I did water it but not saturated only enough that after a few minutes I saw water come out the drain holes. I did not add any pumice as the store purchased growing medium apparently was high porosity by ProMix (not sure if you have this brand), I used this one on my “rescue tree” a couple years ago when I first go into the joys of loving maples. The rescue tree is in a ceramic pot with only one drain hole and has faired very well. I also did not add transplant liquid treatment either. The rising sun has been placed under my deck for protection while it recovers. Ara Kawa is in its normal place as it gets protection from afternoon sun from the trees above, now that they are in leaf. I appreciate everyone’s support you have no idea how much it means to me and I will keep you all posted…thanks again @maf @AlainK
    Oh and my mother “talked to the trees and let them know we did our part its time to do theirs” and sprinkled some “Holy Water” - my mother is Italian and a devout Catholic! Let you know how it all goes!

    Stress on leaves. Keep in mind the new soil is very wet and we have only had today and yesterday as good weather.
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    Dug out around sides - still pot bound from previous pot - soil stays together when squeezed
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    No new white roots like found on other trees, loosened with hand garden fork
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    Soil from bottom very saturated and smells foul
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    Back in Pot and original location (little extra room in pot but didn’t want to have too much extra soil. Tree need proper root pruning in Spring if it survives.
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