Acer Rubrum -taproot pruning

DCarl

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I was recently deceived on an internet special which portrayed Red Maple seedlings about the size of your hand. I thought they would be great to start with and they were only $20 for 10. When I received them, they were about 18 inches tall with a 5 inch tap root. I potted them right away and kept them indoors for the harsh winter here in Buffalo, zone 5. The pots I used were deeper than the average bonsai pot, which I hope I can still get them into and is why I am seeking your assistance.

Would you guys suggest anything like trimming the tap root? I would like to get it down to about 3 inches so I could repot them into polyresin training pots. Should I do this at all and if so, when would be the best time?

Your help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Your trees should be outside. I think they are hardy to your zone, but you should give them some shelter to be safe.

If they haven't woken up from winter yet you can cut the tap root off. I would take 1/2 off this year and then 1/2 off next year at repotting time. Take off the root, and arrange the remaining roots radially to produce a nice surface roots in the future.

If you can already see green in the buds then don't do any root work this year and just give them lots of sun, food and water so that they grow quickly for you.
 

JasonG

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To me this sounds about the size that we buy as liners for field planting. If you have roots growing above the tap root then I would strongly suggest removing 100% of the tap root now. Your trees are young enough that it won't hurt anything. We do this on several thousand trees per year and 99% of them make it just fine, pines, maples, hornbeam, beech, oaks, etc....

Just what I would do....

Jason
 

milehigh_7

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To me this sounds about the size that we buy as liners for field planting. If you have roots growing above the tap root then I would strongly suggest removing 100% of the tap root now. Your trees are young enough that it won't hurt anything. We do this on several thousand trees per year and 99% of them make it just fine, pines, maples, hornbeam, beech, oaks, etc....

Just what I would do....

Jason

Jason, you guys really do this with pines and oaks? Do you see that oaks are more finicky than others regarding root work? I have had terrible luck with pruning the taproot on three species of oak this year. Southern Live, Pin and Willow. None made it. The Acer Rubrum however did just fine with tap root pruning.

I followed the method Brent outlines on his page regarding root pruning liners.
 

TheSteve

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Milehigh-

It's funny you should bring this up now as I've been communicating with Brent about just this topic. He told me that as long as you don't try to produce roots from stem material (trunk), oaks will actually throw roots quite easily. Maybe you cut a little high on the tree?
 

milehigh_7

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Milehigh-

It's funny you should bring this up now as I've been communicating with Brent about just this topic. He told me that as long as you don't try to produce roots from stem material (trunk), oaks will actually throw roots quite easily. Maybe you cut a little high on the tree?

*blush* Ha Ha Well it is ENTIRELY possible that I screwed it up. LOL! It is kinda funny because I have about a dozen evergreen oaks (sorry I don't know the ID) that I pulled the seedlings up like weeds and potted them and they are growing great.

The liner oaks I bought did not fare so well.

Crabs, Hawthorn, Crapes, forsythia, Red Maple and Service Berry all doing well with similar treatment.

In fact I took the taproots from and potted them up as well and now I have Sergeant and Prairie Fire Crabs and Washington Hawthorn growing from root cuttings.

Thanks for the reply!
 

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