American hornbeam root concerns

Kahless

Yamadori
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I recently collected an American Hornbeam. When I dug it out I could see that it did not have many feeder roots near the base of the tree, just three long anchor roots with with finer roots 2 feet away from the base at the ends. I figured it needed some of these to survive but that means leaving these long, thick roots on. Should I have cut these roots closer to the trunk, assuming that it will grow new roots at the cuts? Will new roots grow at the base or will they just form at the ends where I cut the anchor roots? Can a tree survive and grow new roots without any feeder roots? Thanks
 
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I think I would leave them long and keep the feeder roots it has and over plant it in a large box and hope for roots to back bud over time. If there are feeders up closer to the trunk, even small one(s) I'd probably gamble and cut back to it/them and still hope for back budding of roots tin the training pot or container.
 

Shibui

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My experience is the vast majority of new roots grow from the cut ends of most species.
I've found that hornbeam are quite good at making new roots. They are one of the many species that will survive and grow with no feeder roots so I'm comfortable with cutting roots short.

Having said that, your tree is probably now potted up so I'd leave it as is this year. Feed , water and let it grow as strong as possible this summer then check next spring and see what has actually happened and reduce the roots as needed then.
 

rockm

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I have collected numerous Carpinus Caroliniana (American hornbeam) over the years. I rarely have used a shovel to get one, even big ones like over 8 inches in diameter.

I use a pruning saw to saw off all roots to within six inches of the trunk. I use whatever roots are left there. I also hose off ALL field soil at time of collection and top the tree too.

Hornbeam are extremely tough when collected just before their buds break in the spring. They have never failed to regenerate feeder roots from the cut ends of the major roots. I use only regular bonsai soil to put them in to start off. I seal big pruning wounds on the top side and insure the root flare (nebari) is buried under at least two inches of soil to prevent dieback on the root crown.

With this treatment, you can typically get new growth popping on the trunk in two to three weeks.
 

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