Buckeye re-potting - Trees in Containers (pics)
Hello and good afternoon, container gardeners!
California Buckeye, Aesculus californica, is the first tree to begin leafing out in my area
of northern California. Like clockwork, the buds begin to swell during the first two weeks of February.
This is also when I re-pot these container grown trees; and so, I took a few pics to share with you all.
For two years, this Buckeye has been growing in this .71 gallon container in a mix similar to the 5-1-1.
In this case, 5 parts fir bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part pumice. This mix is quite durable, and could have
lasted even longer had I been using a larger container from the start. As you might guess, the roots
had filled this small container and I had some difficult root-work to do. Let that be a lesson! ;-)
To start, here is a shot of the tree in the old container:
Next up, I'm going to share a series of pics of various ingredients and supplies.
Here you see some screened Fir bark, along with some "recycled" soil mix that I partially sifted,
leaving only the viable bark, perlite, and pumice (and even a fraction of quartzite):
Fresh Fir bark, up close. I use uncomposted bark, and I screen the particles, which really
adds longevity to this variation of the 5-1-1 mix:
And some of that "recycled" soil, up close. By using this material, I'm increasing moisture retention
without adding new peat moss or potting soil. Truly, this material alone would be more than acceptable
as a container soil. Waste not, want not:
Then, of course, the "coarse" grade Perlite ;-)
When the materials are combined - 5 parts bark, 2 parts perlite, and 1 part recycled mix -
I get something that looks like this. Dolomitic Garden Lime added at 1 Tablespoon per gallon of mix.
I also added the appropriate amount of Osmocote slow release fertilizer in a 19-6-12 formula.
Unfortunately, bare-rooting and root-pruning are too messy to be handling the camera, so I don't have
pics of the process. Basically, it involves knocking the old mix out of the roots, and pruning off the
heavy, downward growing, and strangely angled woody roots. Once that was done, I made a mound of
the new mix in the pot, worked the mix into all the spaces between the roots, and filled carefully around
the sides of the root-ball. I work quickly so that the roots are exposed for as briefly as possible.
And last but not least, here is the fully re-potted tree that has been watered in and left to drain.
Although these pics are fairly "sunny," the sky clouded up in early afternoon and we had a nice rain all night.
One couldn't ask for better re-potting weather.
I'll post some updates as this Buckeye continues to leaf-out.