Having your roots done..

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You go to a hair dresser to have others fix that dead beaver on your cranium.
You use a lawnmower to mow a lawn.
Leaving things to the professional(s) equipment is always best.
Pause.

I wanted to get a mail-order brid.. ehrm.. Japanese black pine into bonsai soil and out of the potting soil. It was way past repotting season and.. Well I figured I was going to kill it before fall if the roots weren't freed from that clump of potting soil. I was pretty sure about it even.
Slip pot into inorganics then! I did that, but I felt it wasn't enough. A brick of potting soil surrounded by clay pellets is not much better than the brick in a pot.

And why should I insult a pine when I can let others do it for me, like how I get a haircut by a professional barber, and like how I don't clip every blade of grass with a scissor but use equipment for it.

I went to the local fish bait shop, bought a bag of worms for a euro and released them in the slippotted jbp container, placed it up high and now, two weeks later, the roots have been worked without me laying a finger on them.

Idea behind this: worms dont like inorganics, they keep cycling through the potting soil, opening it up and digesting it. Excrement can be washed out. Root integrity will stay intact since these worms don't eat undamaged live tissue. When all the soil has been evenly spread (and myc. And bacteria too), the worms will eventually die or wiggle out of the pot. They run out of food.
Every watering I'm losing a tablespoon of potting soil. In between watering, the worms help me by using the holes of the pot as a toilet. That's 5 tablespoons per 3 days.

Creative solutions, I love them.
Out of season root work? What root work? What season? I didn't do nothing, I swear!

Keep in mind though: the plant is holding on to nothing now, better wire it to the pot.

Maggots could work too, but then you'd be dealing with a lot of flies later.

To get all the worms out, just tap the rim of the pot exactly 100 times, they will respond as they do with moles; come up to the surface and make a run for it. This is a fun 'magic trick' if you have kids as well.
 
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The 10 or so worms are still ploughing through the soil, I'll see if I can take some pictures this weekend of what they leave and maybe shove some akadama aside to see how well this works.
It was a 7 dollar jbp but it has such nice roots and such nice development that I am not going to pull it out of the soil completely even though I consider it my pine to train with.
 

Stan Kengai

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Nice creative solution, letting nature do the work. I often end up with a few worms in my plants that are on the ground, even in inorganic soil. They must love the organic fertilizer.
 
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There's a nice transition going on. This was a solid brick of potting soil just a month ago.

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Spot it waving hello! This is the tray under the pot. I've been busy lately, so there will be days the soil is a little too dry. The tray allows the worms to escape drought a little, and come back when they're hungary.
Man, hungarian stews.. Love them! Has nothing to do with worms, but appreciation is always nice to find in places where you don't expect it.
All the sand and soil in this tray has been transported by either water, or worms by the way.

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A day's work for the worms. Without a tray.
 

Vance Wood

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This is specious at best IMHO.
 
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I agree completely! We'll see next spring Vance. I'm not going to fool around with those roots during summer just to prove a point to people on the internet.
In the mean time, everyone is free to try it for themselves. I mean, worms aren't hard to find and they don't do any harm. I think it would be fun and informative to see how other slip potted plants turn out with, and without worms.
 

Silentrunning

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Worm dung is called castings and is highly beneficial to plants. Many people put worms in their composts to speed up decomposition and enrich it with the castings.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Interesting idea, in the ground, worms are important for breaking compacted clay soils. Had not thought about it in a pot.

As the muck gets pooped out, I would top dress with pumice to replace it.

I need to do some observation in my collection, many of my pots set on the ground and have been colonized by earthworms
 

Vance Wood

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Worms disturb the soil and could add a some empty spaces for ants to invade.
 

GGB

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When I first got into gardening, i grew tropical fruits in pots with organic potting soils. Always added worms to my pots when I found them around the yard. It's super creepy when you forget and repot a tree and some giant night crawler starts flipping out haha. it's what made me stop, I would jump everytime.
My only input, besides this is an awesome experiment, is that I'd watch the size of worms versus size of tree. Dunno what worms look like in Europe but in my corner they can get really massive, to the extenet that I can't imagine they wouldn't damage a shohin sized tree. Hope I get to see the results
 
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Here in the Netherlands the only bugs we have to be afraid of are hornets and procession caterpilars on oaks, and ticks.
Even the ants are armless. In France, the ants have soldiers, around here you could stick your hand in an ant colony and it would just smell a little sour when it comes out.
Sure, we have beetles, gnats and other root eating larvae.

Even our most venomous native snake hasn't killed anyone since 1994.

I'm not worried about whatever lives in my pots. The worms don't eat live tissue, and the biggest worms I've seen don't exceed 20cm in length. Those live in farm fields and the woods. In villages and cities, where roads have been paved since roman times and where worm food is scarce since the introduction of the car, worms usually don't get that big.
 

sorce

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Love this.

I gotta fattie, like Canadian Crawler Fishing Worm, in my lil ficus...

I was just admiring how well it is growing yesterday.

I got a couple nursery pots could use some help....
Diggin.

Sorce
 

Tieball

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View attachment 197943
There's a nice transition going on. This was a solid brick of potting soil just a month ago.

View attachment 197944
Spot it waving hello! This is the tray under the pot. I've been busy lately, so there will be days the soil is a little too dry. The tray allows the worms to escape drought a little, and come back when they're hungary.
Man, hungarian stews.. Love them! Has nothing to do with worms, but appreciation is always nice to find in places where you don't expect it.
All the sand and soil in this tray has been transported by either water, or worms by the way.

View attachment 197945
A day's work for the worms. Without a tray.
Ha!.....Find the worm....Reminded me of a “Where’s Waldo” picture.....but perhaps Waldo never made it over to the Netherlands. Anyway....excellent idea to loosen the soil.
 

Vance Wood

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In defense of squirrels hiding their nuts in your bonsai, they keep the soil lose and aerated.
 

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