Always wash off old soil when re-potting?

cyn_sJune 9, 2011

SO sorry if this is repetive. I've spent 2 hrs. trying to find the answer, using the search function on GW and on Google.

So do you always wash off the roots - for all plants? regardless of what they're planted in? whether you're repotting into 5-1-1- or 3-2-1?

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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I do not bare root plants unless the soil they are in is very bad or they have been in it for a very long time. For me that is only about one in ten. Al

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:12AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Can you tell us what plants you need to transplant into the mixes. It would help.

I don't bare root annuals that are going into the 5-1-1. I just loosen the existing soil and knock most of it off and put a few vertical slits. And like Al just stated, unless they are in very bad soil.

I recently put a mini rose in the 5-1-1 and the original soil Had to go! The rose sulked a little but sprang back!

As far as the gritty mix goes. Some tree's and shrubs should not be bare rooted this time of year.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:48AM
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At this point I'm just repotting houseplants into the 3-2-1 mix (not quite ready for 5-1-1 yet). I know the soil in them is VERY old and probably very poor, so it will probably be best to wash it off.

Thanx to both of you for your advice. :-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 6:17PM
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For veggies and annuals, like JoJo I just shaggle some of the loose soil off, and pop in into the 5-1-1. However, for anything long term, like houseplants, I'll bareroot the thing, wash the peat soil off, and repot. Anything going into the gritty mix always gets washed of ALL soil. Leaving any substantial amount of the old, cruddy peat soil around the roots creates a little patch of soil that has different properties then the rest of your mix, and can create problems. The 5-1-1 mix naturally dries out faster, but the wad of peat on the roots may still be wet. As for the timing thing with trees and shrubs, well, that's up to you personally. In your zone, it is a bit late for repotting, but in my opinion, I see no benefit in leaving them in a crumby mix any longer then they have to. For me, here in zone 4, things are not too far along, so repotting now isn't as detrimental.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 7:21PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I usually bare-root/root-prune all houseplants when I repot, and prefer to repot them in Jun & Jul. Most plants that prefer/need/get a cold rest are repotted and root-pruned before they wake in the spring, except for junipers & pines.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:18PM
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For most houseplants in very old, compacted, depleted soils, I do bare-root them, washing off as much of the old soil as I can, and untangling the roots a bit as I clean them off under tepid running water. I trim the dead roots off, and keep them out of direct sun and wind, keeping them moist, as I work.

If the roots are really tight and balled up, I kind of pull them apart a bit from the bottom, removing the old soil from the center of the rootball. I might have to cut or slit the roots a bit if they're that tightly balled up.

I just use my best judgment, and keep the roots moist and protected as I work. I may soak them in a solution of water and Superthrive for a little while before placing the plant in its new home of fresh medium. Then, I water it in, and place it in a protected spot out of direct sun and wind so it can acclimate.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 7:23AM
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how bout fruit trees in container?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

...... more specific, please? 'Fruit trees' covers a lot of territory.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:05PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

Al I've been curious for some time about how you handle the washed-off soil?

Whenever I bare root and repot I always end up with a big mess of mud. Is this unavoidable or is there some trick that you have?

Also do you ever capture and re-use any of the material?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Thanx to everyone for all your advice!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 2:31PM
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"more specific, please? 'Fruit trees' covers a lot of territory."

tropical fruit trees like guava, lychee, mango, star fruit and also citrus trees.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 2:31PM
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redshirt, when I do a barerooting, I start with two 5 gallon buckets. The first is for crumbling off soil without the use of water, the second I fill up with water for dunking. First, I try & crumble off as much of the old soil as I can, into the dry bucket, to catch the mess. I'll then resort to dunking the rootball in the bucket filled with water, and gently wiggle my fingers in the rootball while it is submerged. This process will get most if not all of the old soil off of the roots. Finally, once I've got most or all of the old soil off, I take the hose to it to get any last bit of old soil off. I just do this in the lawn, because by the time I start hosing, there is little or no old soil to make a mess. As for what I do with the old soil, well, it basically gets tossed in the garden, or in the compost pile for future garden use.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 5:54PM
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I do what Al does, except I start a month earlier.

As for annuals and perennials, I just stick them right into the new soil slipped out carefully right from the pots.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:42PM
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