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where should they live...

Posted by terratoma 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 13, 12 at 12:08

Recently received excellent advice regarding 5-1-1 mix on this forum and help from the Maple Forum about inground planting. Am now about to plant Japanese maples in containers and am asking for advice.
Recently purchased some Japanese maples in 7 gallon containers whose roots appear healthy: tiny tips of feeder roots are all that's showing on the perimeter of the rootball with no evidence of encircling roots. Have one other maple that came in a 2 qallon container and does has encircling roots. My question is: where should these maples "live" for the next six months or so (while dormant)? Have read that now is not the time for any necessary rootpruning or repotting; should wait until dormancy has ended. And Al has warned of the consequences of potting up a rootball encased in old soil from the original container into a larger container with a new and "faster" soil (5-1-1 or gritty mix). And I can't see putting them into a larger container filled with the same kind of peat-based mix in which they arrived; that would sort of go against everything I've read on this forum! So keeping them in their present containers, as purchased, seems to be the only remaining option; but is that realistic? Suggestions?
Oh ... and don't forget about the little rootbound guy ... any special procedures for him at this time of year?
gary


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: where should they live...

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 13, 12 at 20:04

It's so close to their time to rest that I don't think there is much advantage in doing anything until spring. Keep in mind that the observation that the larger plants don't show evidence of root congestion or other issues doesn't mean there isn't a 5 gallon mass of tight roots hiding in the 7 gallons of soil. It's actually highly probable, so I think I'd have a repot with root work and a change to a high quality soil on my planner for when you first see signs of bud movement. It probably wouldn't hurt the plant with obviously tight roots to be potted up slightly now.

I'd probably bury/mulch the pots against the north foundation of the house, or over-winter them in an attached, unheated garage, which is where all mine snooze away the winter.

Al


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RE: where should they live...

I'm obliged by your generous advice. I do have a few questions.(Am not expecting spoon-feeding but the search tool on this site seems unable to read my mind. :o) )
Will pot up the 2 gallon JM as suggested. Given the time of year, however, should the rootball be moved undisturbed into a larger container with 5-1-1 mix; or should the old soil be removed from the roots first? (Seems like I read that both options_ performed at this time of year_ require careful attention.)
On another front: Inground plants don't seem to require any assistance from us mortals during dormancy. I assume there is a regimen_ at least for water, if not food_ for container plants during this same period. (Have found lots and lots about watering indoor/household plants but am getting lost when the subject is outdoor/garaged container plants.) And would the same watering requirements during dormancy hold true for both my newly transplanted JM (see above) AND those that will remain in their original containers (as received from the retailer)?
Halloween is fast approaching. This year I'm planning on dressing as a bag of Miracle Gro potting soil ... and carrying a scythe of course! Any thoughts ...? :0]
gary


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RE: where should they live...

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 12:11

Disturb roots as little as possible at this point on whatever you pot up. Just taking the root mass out of the old & into the new, intact, is fine. You can even skip that entire move if you wish. Any difference it makes will be minimal./ A month ago, I'd have suggested you remove the bottom inch or two from the root mass & cut some vertical slits, but at this late stage, I think that will just rob the plant of some stored energy it could use for the spring push or recovery after you repot.

Toss a little snow on over-wintering plants every so often. I try to do the bulk of mine monthly, though some of the bonsai in smallish containers require it a little more frequently. You don't want wet or completely dry - just enough moisture to guard against root dessication - so, barely dam.

Best luck!

Al


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RE: where should they live...

Thanks Al. I believe I'll wait until spring before taking any action (root pruning and repotting). Plus it will give me time to assemble the ingredients for the gritty mix. I have everything ready for the 5-1-1 now but I'd like to experiment a bit in the spring: repot some in the gritty mix and some in the 5-1-1.
Again, thanks.
gary


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