A Box Full Of Roots

Sn0W

Shohin
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I picked up 3 boxwoods from a nursery a couple of weeks back. They'd been left exposed to the elements on top of a hill out in a field for god knows how long and had suffered some severe die back and yellowing of foliage. They weren't priced and were sitting next to some healthy looking boxes going through the cloud pruning process with crazy price tags. Spoke to the manager and managed to pick them up for £25 each after haggling him down. He said they'd been sat in these pots for at least 8 years.
Took em home and put them in some shade. Decided now was as good a time as any to make a start on repotting at least one. Pulled it out of its pot and it was just roots, literally no soil.I cut the rootball back by 1/2 first just bottom but after trying to comb out the roots and i couldnt I cut the sides back too and then pruned the top back hard. Scraped all the crap off of the top and left it to soak overnight.
I'm posting from my phone so only have pictures from today but I can post a before picture tomorrow from my pc if it'll help. Anyways my question is, what the hell do I do now? It needs to go into a pot tomorrow but I'm not sure if I can leave the roots as they are or if I need to try and rake them out or something. I've not dug out anymore of the trunk as the visible base is quite nice and I've cut a lot of roots off already. Pics below
 

Sn0W

Shohin
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As you can see it's just a solid block of roots, no wonder the poor thing was suffering. I know that the other 2 are going to be exactly the same when I pull them out of their pots. Is this amount of fine roots a dream come true or a nightmare?
 

Dalsom

Seedling
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Cut more. Flat as possible. About 2- 3 inches should work great. I prefer to do this work right as bud are swelling for first Spring flush.
 

Dalsom

Seedling
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If they are not in optimal health, I would up-pot with good soil, fertilize like crazy all season. Then do all this aggressive root work right as buds start to swell in Spring. I would go even flatter if at optimal health. 1 inch.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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That before pic may help....

You should be safe cutting it down to an inch.

BUT!

Careful of the sides....

If your going to leave it blocky, or no wedges cut out...
You will likely have to jam it dead against each wall or risk having water run off the roots downthe side and not wetting that tight ball.

It looks like you're currently tinkering with 2 seperate Nebari planes...
Where at ONE inch ...you may be cutting off a lower, better flare .....
Go up slow....maybe poke a poker (up to not damage bark) in to find big roots....scrape the bottom up...

There should be a 8 year ago flare.

Looks like you are only into the last 8 years so far. From too down.

Careful....this is a very make it or break it decision.

But those roots are fine to stay out for a while as you figure it out. Maybe just not constantly soaking....that ball holds water plenty IMO.

Sorce
 

Sn0W

Shohin
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I stopped cutting roots because I'd cut off so many already. I think if I fert I can do that work next year. One of the others I started cutting from the bottom and hit a hard block with the saw so I stopped and picked around it, looks like it could be the first nebari, got to let it recover a bit first though as I cut so much off from around it.

Here are the before pics:

Thread Box.jpgthread box2.jpg
 
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