NEW warning about circling roots in container stock
OK, we all know the drill, you have to check to make sure there are not circling roots on container stock; even if you don't find any, you probably want to break things up a bit.
I recently planted a 'George Tabor' azalea in a very sheltered part of my garden. I had planted one years ago that died during one of the hurricanes from too much water. This one is on higher ground so that won't be a problem. Of course this far north it is somewhat tender and will be injured some winters - hopefully we don't have a repeat a last winter. But the flowers are some of the all-time classics of the azalea world IMHO.
Anyhow, the pot was pretty big for the plant, which was about 20" X 20". Maybe a 3 or 5 gallon. The rootball held together and I was surprised to see just a few feeder roots visible on the surface. "Oh great, it wasn't under potted" I thought. Then I remembered a rhododendron I'd dug up last fall, that I was shocked to see had circling roots. Even though I _always_ check for them. So, I stuck my fingers deep into the root ball. A few inches in, what do I feel but a hard root in a radial formation! Now I started really ripping things apart. Yep, just I as I suspected. When they potted the plant up last year, they just popped it out of a 1 gallon pot, circling roots and all, and threw it in a 3 gallon pot with new soilless mix. Thanks guys!
So, check, and double check, that the whole depth of the rootball has no circling roots.