Just repotted in gritty mix, is this reaction 'normal'?

newgen(9 Central California)June 22, 2011

Barerooted a wax jambu 2 days ago. I expected some stress, leaf loss, etc, but it's still distressing to see. It has lost some leaves, several other younger leaves curled up. I did not pre soak the barks, and have been watering it several times a day, just to make sure everything is wet underneath the surface. I'm hoping it'll wake up again, everything looks limp at this time. Below are before and after photos. In the "before", the wax jambu is on the left. I'll wait to see how this turns out before repotting the caimito (on the right side of the photo). Thanks,

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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

I often see leaf drop and general unhappiness when I repot into the gritty mix. I know some people say they have no problems at all but in my experience it's always risky.

My last re-pot went better after I saw a tip from Mksmith in a thread somewhere: he suggested that the best way to bare-root is underwater in a large tub. Make sure you don't keep the roots submerged for too long but I found this to be much much easier than doing it with tools and a sprayer. I lost far less roots doing it underwater than I did with any other method I've tried. It also made the process far less messy.

So if you read this Mksmith: thanks!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 5:34PM
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Joe1980(5)

It's not the gritty mix that causes the stress, it's the barerooting. When you work away the old soil, especially if it's caked on pretty good, you end up damaging a lot of the fine feeder roots. This will happen no matter what mix you repot into. I bareroot by first gently working the old soil out with my fingers first, and then resort to the bucket of water. I submerge the rootball, and wiggle my fingers around, loosening the soil. It can be a long process, but it's worth it once you're done, and your plant establishes in the gritty mix. Repotting will be a breeze in the future. For now though, just make sure to keep it moist, and also mist the leaves to reduce transpiration.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I also have learned that it's best to really soak the gritty mix (and also the 5-1-1) before repotting. Don't be afraid to water a lot in the beginning. You really can't overwater in most cases.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 8:28PM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Joe: Yeah I did some damage to the feeder roots for sure, I was pretty aggressive with the spraying and loosening the root ball. I think/hope that this is just the "ugly duckling" stage, I'm mentally prepared for more leaf loss and a couple weeks waiting for new growth to occur.

Ohiofem: I use a spray nozzle to really soak it, letting the water run out the bottom holes, I've been doing this 4 times a day, and mist the leaves too.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:08AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'm not offering this as admonishment - only an observation: you should expect a pouting plant (or worse) when you bare-root and repot in the middle of summer - except maybe for most pines. Timing is pretty important if you want the recovery to be relatively seamless/uneventful.

Al

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 7:12PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

redshirt

wish I could take the credit on that one, but it wasnt me. good tip though

Mike

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 3:46PM
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monet_g

I bare-rooted a newly purchased Gardenia and put it in the Gritty Mix a couple of weeks ago. I was amazed at how much water it needed - every or every other day in order to avoid drooping. I see yellowing interior leaves, but, I'm also seeing new growth. I'm hoping the worst it over. We've had a lot of rain and humidity and I think it's helped in the recovery.
Gail

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 9:38AM
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Joe1980(5)

People must also remember that after a repot, into whatever mix you choose, that you need to shelter your plant from the sun for a few weeks. When you disturb roots, the obvious result will be less ability to take up water and deliver it to the leaves, until recovery. In the meantime, you have to reduce transpiration by keeping it out of the sun, and misting the leaves helps as well. I haven't had any trouble with my gritty mix transplanting, and I am the opposite of Gail, I am amazed at how I don't have to water as much as I'd thought.

Joe

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 11:15AM
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newgen(9 Central California)

Today all the leaves have dried up and fell off. The container is under shade, no direct sunlight at all. The mix has been kept wet. Hopefully the recovery process will begin soon.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:17PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

FWIW - I've been using the gritty mix for more than 15 years, literally thousands of repots (I do at least 200 each year), and I can count on one hand the plants I've lost to after-repotting stress. In most plants I see virtually no reaction, other than a brief slowing of growth while the plant reestablishes enough roots to support fresh growth.

It is possible to over-water plants in the gritty mix if you work at it - especially if the ingredients aren't screened and there is a significant % of fines in the mix. If you're watering 4 times per day, you're watering far more often than necessary.

Al

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:12PM
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