Gritty mix repotting questions

gtw7983March 5, 2011

Hi guys,

I have been studying Al's gritty mix for a long time and have tried repotting a couple of my tropical fruit trees in the gritty mix. So far, I found that the younger seedlings take the barerooting and the new mix really well. However, more mature trees don't. I barerooted two five gallon mango trees with water jets and potted them in gritty mix and after a week now they are whiltering.

I know Al recommends not completely barefoot evergreens when repotting, but I am just wondering how can I achieve the full benefits of gritty mix with half the pot in old peat mix and half in gritty mix. Wouldn't this cause moisture discrepancy in the new pot? What about repotting in future years? Whenever complete barerooting happening, wouldn't that cause root shock?

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a


First, where do you locate the trees once they've been re-potted?
Do you put them back into their former location, or are you protecting them
from direct sun and wind for several weeks after re-potting?

Secondly, since you mention not completely bare-rooting evergreens, you must
be referencing the removal of the root-mass in sections over the course of two
seasons. Yes, there will be some discrepancy in moisture in the pot, but it will
be a marked improvement over traditional, compacted, peat-based soil.

Once the plant has been completely re-potted, future re-potting is much less of
a trauma because the gritty mix falls away from roots - so there's less wrestling with
the root-ball, and the transition into fresh media happens smoothly.

The first bare-rooting is, generally, the hardest.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 12:03AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I've had similar experience when I first repotted my first mango tree to the Gritty mix(Fall 2007)...I bare rooted the entire root ball using a hose end sprayer with water...removed 98% of the mix (few bark pieces of bark that were clinging to the roots I left)and within a few hours the tree starting to wilt. I live in FL and I did this late Oct. or early Nov 2007. I didn't put it in the shade or protected I'm sure looking back on it now that may have had a role in it...slowly I lost green healthy leaves...TONS of them. I thought I had killed the tree...but within several weeks the leaf drop slowly stopped and within a couple of months or so new leaves emerged. I've done this to another mango last year and have had no problems the second time around...gave it some shade and shelter and had no problems. Like Josh said, the second repotting is SO much easier...Guess what I'm saying is don't give up. Something about mango trees...they don't seem to like drastic root disturbances? Hang it there...this is the tree taken a few weeks ago...notice the pot is broken hence the dolly is tied to it. I will have to repot it when the flowers/blooms are done this summer. Good luck! Don't give up on the gritty mix its the next best thing to sliced bread,lol...maybe even better!

BTW, I did the same thing to my Calamondin...and yet it had NO problems at all...didn't skip a beat. Didn't lose blooms or fruit! Maybe Mango trees are a little more sensitive to root disturbances? Below is the link of when I repotted my Calamondin with pictures...

Hi Josh!!

Glenn and Pickering in Gritty mix.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calamondin Root Pruning...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 8:50AM
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I was just browsing before my shower and I just had to say.WOWOWOWIWIWIOWO!!! Look at the size of that tree and all those flowers. I am getting one. Great work Nanvy:-))) Beautiful. We need to

Ok I will be back later to actually read this thread.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 9:00AM
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Nice, Nancy! Beautiful tree with very lovely, interesting flowers!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:07AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Wonderful work, Nancy! I can't say if you do or not (I can guess, though), ;o) but your plants always have the look of being pampered or doted on. You've become so accomplished! Thanks for offering such positive encouragement, too. I'm going to link Julie (repotting woes) to this thread so she can read your offering.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 12:24PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks Mike, Jodi and means a lot! I absolutely love the Gritty Mix and I will always be very grateful for meeting Al here, for introducing me to the best potting mix I've ever used! I hate to think what my plants and I would have missed out on if I didn't discover the Gritty Mix...Thanks again Al!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:42PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 3:47PM
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Thank you guys for your responses.
Josh, thank you very much for your detailed answer. how much soil mass would you remove from the football when you repot mangos for the first time? Half? The other half in the second year probably?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Thank you for your encouragement puglvr1! I have more hope now!
Thank you Al for sharing the mix with us and helping me along the way! Thank you all!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 5:44PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Almost everyone here has the encouragement bone. For the most part, it's an amiable and very helpful group you can count on for positive support. We're glad you're here.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 9:35PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hello Everyone...

Nancy...i am speechless..that Mango is just gorgeous...I decided to "pug" my Carrie and My Glenn...i hoping that i have 1/4 of the results as you!!!...Pretty Work!!!

Take care everyone..

Laura in VB

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:01PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks GTW and Laura!

GTW, I wish you the best with your trees.

Good luck with the mango trees Laura...hope you get the results your wanting.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:26PM
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I've been researching Al's mix all day - I'll execute in 2 weeks. :)

I'm new to this - so a few basic questions I can't seem to find (and this is the closest thread).

When I repot the 5 fruit trees I just bought, I need to remove all the soil and just have the tree and roots, right? From this thread, it seems like I do this by washing the roots with a hose to loosen the dirt.

Then, once I've repotted in the new mix, do I need to keep all the plants in the shade for 3-4 weeks? Or just the pot in the shade, and the plant in full sun? Alternatively, should I wait until a specific time (i see people posting for mature plants when it's fall/spring from active/non active growth seasons)?

I just bought from nursery, and will keep all trees in containers for years, but nursery said I needed to "upgrade" to the next size in 1-3 months for all trees.

Thanks in advance... !


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:27PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Al advises against repotting in the middle of the summer. I would wait. I have enough difficulty pulling it off in mild 60-70 degree situations. I wouldn't try it mid-summer unless you have to.

I would suggest using a large container of water and submerging the root ball to wash off the soil rather than the hose/sprayer. I've found that I lose less roots that way. Just don't keep the roots submerged for too long (ie: don't wash all 5 at once and leave them all sitting in water while you try to pot each one).

Some people might be fine keeping their plants in sun after repotting but I find it's best to move them to filtered shade for a few weeks. It's not the pot temperature that is the immediate concern (though it does matter) - it's that you will lose roots in the repotting process and hinder the plant's ability to transpire. If it sits in full sun and there is more evaporation from the leaves than the roots can keep up with you will have leaf drop and maybe some dead branches.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:57PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Cory - find more repotting info at the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: More about trees in containers if you click me!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 10:04PM
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