Barerooting delicate annuals - help

Oxboy555(Las Vegas)September 23, 2013

Say you buy an annual or small perennial you want to bareroot for planting in 5-1-1 or Gritty. You pull it out of the pot and it has the typical soggy mass of bound roots intermingled with crappy MG soil.

Do you just leave as is and pot into the mix (and bareroot it later once the root mass has grown/strengthened) - or- try to bareroot it from the get-go?

I ask because I destroyed two such plant root systems trying to be as delicate as possible with the hose nozzle in spraying away the soil off the roots. The little roots just kind of dissolved or blasted away, leaving essentially no base to keep the plants upright. I made sure to soak the root balls for a while first.

Feeling bad about the waste of money and plantlife, I'm inclined to plant the small delicate store-boughts with their root masses intact except for a little teasing/scoring. I'm good with barerooting larger/stronger root masses --- just need planting tips with the tiny delicate ones. Thanks.

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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

you have to be really careful with fine root systems. A hose nozzle is probably too aggressive. I soak mine and then swish them around in the bucket to get the medium off. Then i also like to put them on my propagation bench where they get some shade and mister action so they can recover.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:28PM
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I also do what Nil13 does, the swishing around in a bucket of water. I also tickle the roots while the root ball is under water - you could feel the soil "dissolve" away (sink really, but it feels like dissolving). Really easy to get the soil off, and because the plant is kind of floating, there is very little gravity-related damage.

But I have a question. Why do you even repot annuals? For just one season, they can stay in the peat pudding, no?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 1:13AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

I was just using an annual as a size example of any small plant with a delicate root system.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 4:48AM
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