Nursery Stock in too-tall Pot, Roots too brittle; Graft?

thatadeniumguyJuly 31, 2014

Ok so I have a couple of nursery-stock trees assorted and I want to repot them in a few months to bonsai pots. Their is a good chance of death if I try and force the brittle roots to fit in such a thin (depth) pot. I've read about grafting, and hear you can graft roots too. How exactly does this work? Must the tree be dormant at the time? What about evergreen? Do you just pull out the plant tie the two root securely and then immediately cover it with soil again and stick it back? Or expose the graft bareroot for a few days in a bucket of water? If you graft roots, then before they heal, the plant essentially lost all the roots you removed before to graft,how does this not kill the tree? Is their a rule of thumb, like never disable more than 50% of the root-stock with a graft?

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Hi - Depending on the trees in question and their size, there are a 1,000 different pots out there of differing quality and material... many of which can be called 'bonsai' pots, many of which may not be, but may be suitable for early training of your trees. It is not necessary to stuff a narrow rootball immediately into a shallow pot, but such things are done over time (years) and how to do it requires some learning about root pruning, etc.... not something you would normally do in a day. Please try to provide more info on the type of trees, their size and the pots in question... I'm not sure root grafting (which you've never done in any case) is the way to go in the circumstances. One thing you might consider, depending on the type of tree and how it normally grows, is a 'cascade' pot that's tall and narrow, and part of the tree (e.g. juniper procumbens) is trained over time to hang down over the edge of the pot.

This post was edited by moochinka on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 18:00

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:48PM
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I have a couple of different potential pots. I have some glazed 14 x 8 x3.25 (high). Some plastic 6 x 8 x 4 oval, etc, would a gradual transition more and more shallow over time work? like a yearly 2" height reduction/exposure? at 8" becomes 1"/year?

The trees, some viburnum, contorted filbert, black pine, wisteria, bougainvillea, black walnut, cork oak, ribes sanguinum, grape vine, chinese elm, weeping mulberry, hydrangea, coastal redwood, dawn redwood, decid. magnolia, zelkova, jasmine sambac, holly, I'm drawing a blank on the rest.

Most are in 'grow bags' not rigid black nursery pot. Very flexible, shape can be molded like water in a glass. Easy to 'cut' 2" of height off of pots. Thus gradual transition = easy w/o stress of repotting.

containerized in assorted 5g, 2g, 3g, qt, 1g, 1g eextra tall (4x4x10 (high)), most pots >10" tall, up to 2 ft.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:07PM
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That's some variety you have there :-), and all have diff. requirements, roots (growth habit and fibrous vs snakey) and I seriously suggest you contact a local bonsai club asap to advise you about potting because there's just no way here to begin... bonsai is not something you do in steps 1,2,3 but over a lifetime, and starting out wrong won't help anything but discourage you very quickly. There's a lot to learn about soil mixes, climate, temps, when to repot and do rootwork (which season) and when not to, how much sun and whether and how to protect what in winter, and how to water (how often is most important. I understand the trees are all living outdoors now which is good, but once potted, trees need particular care and knowledge, so please don't just wing it... but DO come back and post some pix on the gallery when things are in place. Please don't randomly squish , cut or graft any roots til you know what you're doing. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:38PM
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