Developing roots


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Gulf Coast
I have a young pine that has not had any root work done on it...
The tree also has a long sacrifice leader that needs to be cut...

Would it be best to work on the roots first and keep the leader OR chop the leader and work on the roots in a year or two? Are roots a priority on young developing pines?

Tree is under 4 years old and roots have never been trimmed, It was slipped into a larger pot and allowed to grow freely the last two years.
Answer might depend on how much of the tree is the sacrifice leader to be cut off, and what kind of pine(theres a couple different ones) , as well as where you are from, and how much root disturbance there is. Was this bought as prebonsai, or nursery stock. Lots of things to consider. Can you post a pix or two?
Purchased the black pine as a seedling from Brent at Evergreen over 2yr ago, resides in zone 8b on the Gulf Coast, growing in a well drained environment, gets plenty of direct sun, looks very healthy, roots are probably a mess. Sorry, no camera.
The chop will remove approx 50% of the foliage. Plenty of buds emerging down low.

I plan on attacking the root ball one half at a time to minimize shock.
So... Best to do root work first or chop and do root work after the second leader is established?

In my opinion, you should sort out the root situation first. Aside from losing some taper differential (assuming tip top leader), leaving a leader sacrifice for a bit too long has very little downside. The beauty of leader sacrifices is that they don’t usually create bulges and inverse taper.

If you leave the roots alone too long, however. they can grow into a fixed position which is very difficult to correct. I know. I made this mistake with my first jbp - an Arakawa variety which I also bought from Brent.

Now don’t take this to mean that I think you should leave a tip top leader sacrifice on for ten years. I just don’t want you to make the mistake I made of leaving the root work till it’s too late.

Thanks for affirming my hunch and welcome to the Nut. I will investigate the roots in late winter. Hopefully it will survive my root trimming.
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