Late summer conifer repot in 8b, bad idea?

dacoontz

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Ok, I try not to post questions without doing a little research but I am getting mixed opinions through a search of the forum. Certainly the majority of what I read is to wait until spring but I really need to get rid of these huge masses of dirt and I’m chomping at the bit for something to do.

Basically I have three conifers that I would like to get out of nursery pots. The first being a Hinoki Hage cypress that appears to be grafted and in a relatively huge nursery pot, a Mugo pine in a typical sized nursery pot, and what I believe is an Itoigawa Juniper from Telperion farms that has likely been in one of their tapered pots for quite a while.

Temperatures here in southern Oregon are going to be mild for the next week or two with high pressure moving in. However our average for first day of frost can be as early as the first week of October. So maybe the risk is too high. However I was thinking that even just a little bit of reduction in the root mass or nursery dirt would be ok. Here’s pics of what I’m dealing with.

I should mention that I did clean out the inner dead foliage and reduce the foliage mass on the Hinoki by about 25% a week ago. The other two I’ve done nothing with other than water and feed.

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Thanks for any replies. If I need to just chill and wait until spring than I guess I can do that. 😒
 

badatusernames

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I would ask yourself what the intent of the repot is and if it's worth taking the risk. If it's just to put them in nicer pots, well, Telperion Farms doesn't exist any more, and it'd be a shame to lose one of their trees just to get it in a pot six months early, you know?

I was antsy about plastic grow pots and dirt too but I don't see any urgency to do this now vs. spring, if they were mine I'd wait. Good luck, that Telperion tree is great!
 

bwaynef

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Unless you think the trees are going to suffer drastically before you're able to do it at the proper time, I'd hold off until spring. I'm willing to concede that people have reported successes repotting trees in the summer, but they're usually in colder climates and they usually do it earlier in the summer. I'd suspect that for the repotting to be successful, you wouldn't be able to do the same amount of work that you'll be able to do if you wait until spring. So come this time next year, you'd be behind if you just waited to do it in the spring.

There's a post circulating right now about the top 3 tools each of us uses. Patience is probably the #1 for those who are successful.
 

0soyoung

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I didn't buy the hoodoo of "spring only" and. I tried, several years ago, to change the world of bonsai --> I did the work. But, I'll save you the trouble of reading through the Eastern Redbud repotting experiment, the Zelkova repotting experiment, the Lodgepole repotting experiment, and the Douglas fir repotting experiment to learn that repotting in Aug/Sep (or anytime a few weeks after the passage of the summer solstice) is EZPZ for waxy leafed species, which includes virtually all conifers as well as azaleas, chaenomeles, oaks, elms. Further, if you consult the Compiled Vance Wood on Mugo pines resource, you'll learn that this is a better time of year than spring for mugos.
 

dacoontz

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I didn't buy the hoodoo of "spring only" and. I tried, several year….,…,u'll learn that this is a better time of year than spring for mugos.

To be honest, this is what I’m thinking. Certainly Spring is a safe answer in which I can’t go wrong but feel that this time right now might be a better opportunity. This last Spring was so unpredictable here with temps getting very hot, very quickly. I’m afraid we’re going to see the same this coming Spring as the winter is predicted to be mild.
 

dacoontz

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Unless you think the trees are going to suffer drastically before you're a….. Patience is probably the #1 for those who are successful.

Patience is a virtue I am trying to acquire. Certainly I am considering that as I do know my tendencies do not always align with what is best for these trees. Thank you for the reminder. 😁
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I repot conifers in fall and spring.
My pines are still sending out roots. But the day temps are dropping fast, from 28°C last week to 18 this week.
I have lost as much trees due to high spring temps, as to early frosts. About a couple each.

But.. I feel like the risks are lower in spring. That's a gut feeling. Mostly because you can see the actual results in a month, instead of five to six months.
 

Shogun610

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Spring is just a safer bet for my USDA zone , or even July for junipers… fall for Quince…. Everything else I wait till spring.
With repotting you definitely need shelter from spring frosts or fall frosts regardless to allow roots to regenerate

that being said, when the tree isn’t focused on foliar growth and loss of transpiration, in more vascular phases of growth, is that basically the 1,000 ft view of repotting? Maybe any thoughts?
With my material I’m definitely waiting till spring , spring 23 to repot on all my conifers that are still in recovery phase.
I am collecting in fall and spring , but I have a greenhouse that I can use to shelter fall collected stuff.
 

dacoontz

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Well, I went for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. However, hoping they do well.

No real serious root work, according to me. Trees might say otherwise. Basically what came off the root ball was hard clay with nothing keeping it attached to the root ball. When I pulled the mugo and Hinoki out of the nursery pots, excess dirt basically fell away without any effort on my part. I reduced a bit off the bottom of the clumps that didn’t seem heavily packed with roots. Then put them fairly intact in Anderson flats surrounded by good substrate ( Akadama, red cinder, and locally harvested pumice). Cleaned out dead stuff from the insides and wired just one branch on the mugo.

The Hinoki has quite the bulge on the trunk so I’m going to see if I can’t develop some better surface roots from that area and bring the trunk down so to speak. It did not look natural as is.

I opted to leave the telperion produced juniper alone until spring.

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