WSJIII

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Hi All. First, I’d like to take a moment to say how appreciative I am to be a part of the bonsa community. Although new to it I’ve learned SO much from reading this forum and loved every minute of it. This is my first post so thanks in advance for any/all responses.
Since I’m new to bonsai, I did want to ask a question about a tree I just purchased. A couple qualifiers on the tree and my situation:

I’m in Denver, CO
Tree will be shipped via mail and will be stressed
Roots growing out of the bottom of the pot
currently potted in a deep and narrow container.
I should receive the tree the first week of October.
Question is: is it possible to repot the tree immediately upon receipt while still under stress from mail transport? Or should I get it comfortable and repot late fall/early winter? Any root pruning necessary? How to correct roots to radius of tree from down? What to do with the root coming from the bottom of the pot?

Couple photos of the tree so you can see the container it will be shipped in.
 

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Question is: is it possible to repot the tree immediately upon receipt while still under stress from mail transport? Or should I get it comfortable and repot late fall/early winter? Any root pruning necessary? How to correct roots to radius of tree from down? What to do with the root coming from the bottom of the pot?

Welcome to the forum. Nice tree, looks like it has lots of potential.

Because of the unfortunate shape of pot that your tree is currently in, you will likely want to do extensive work on the roots of this tree, and so late winter/early spring (we say 'as buds well') is going to the be the best time to repot your Japanese maple.

If possible, I would suggest contacting (and joining, if you have not really done so!) your closest club and asking if there might be any experienced member who can do the repot with you. You will learn more in those 30-minutes than you will reading about repotting for hours online.

However, if you have not read through the below thread yet, it is worth your time and will answer many of your questions about repotting maples, and more:


This post by @Brian Van Fleet you will likely also find useful:

 

Mapleminx

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Personally I’d let it settle and repot it in early to mid spring. You’re right in that it will be stressed from travel and I see no reason to add root stress to it’s ordeal.
 

Shibui

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Delivery does not always cause stress. I have found that trees cope very well with up to 2 weeks in a dark box if watered well before packing and wrapper properly.
I do agree with the others. Sounds like the tree should have extensive root work to correct and establish a spreading, shallow root system. There is no problem converting a deep pot Japanese maple root system to a shallow one suited to bonsai but spring is the best time to do that sort of extensive root pruning.
If, by repotting, you mean to slip the tree out of the little pot and straight into a larger one that's fine at any time of year and likely regardless of any other stress. Slip potting may sound like a good solution but can often introduce unforeseen problems - water (and roots) will often not cross the boundary between new and old soil so it becomes really difficult to monitor moisture levels and the larger volume and fresh soil is just an illusion because the tree is still effectively constrained by the original pot size. A better (temporary) solution may be to simply bury the existing pot inside a larger pot of new soil. The roots out the bottom should access water and nutrients from the new soil but you'll still be able to monitor moisture levels in both sections to avoid over or under watering. Should be enough to keep it alive and healthy through the rest of summer until you can repot properly in spring.

Roots growing out the bottom of a pot is not always a bad sign as that's the first place roots head to. It is a small pot relative to the tree size so you will need to water well in Co. through the rest of summer.
 

hinmo24t

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Nice. Like minx said I'd be conservative w it. Let it stay how it is which looks healthy unless I misread until the spring at least

Edit. If anything maybe slip to 6" pot
 

Mapleminx

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I have a maple I took on that I absolutely hate the too small pot it’s been put in. I’m itching to repot come spring, for now I’m just ignoring those escaping roots.

But I look at yours and wonder how they stuffed that thing in there 😅.
 

HorseloverFat

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Nice Acer, Traveller! Glad you saw the smoke signals in the valley. The Woody Dwarves would like you to participate in their “Mambo of new arrivals”.

Your window is closing for rootstuffs THIS season... I, personally, would wait...

I really like this tree, and would like to “see it around”
 

Colorado

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I think that repotting a Japanese maple right now in Denver is a death sentence. The average first frost date is upon us and we usually get some snow in October.

My advice would be to focus on a game plan for overwintering and repot in the spring as buds swell.

Good luck, nice maple!
 

WSJIII

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Thanks so much for all the replies to my questions!! Most grateful. Unanimous verdict is wait to repot at bud swell, late winter/early spring.
Yes, if anything I was wondering about what was referred to above as “slip potting.” Wasn’t sure if there was any benefit or detriment to giving it a little room to spread its legs in a training pot prior to any real repotting early 2022.
I did just join the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society a month or so ago, and I think the October meeting is right around the time this tree should arrive, so I’ll check into that and thanks for that great suggestion. I’m really excited to learn from/with you all and will continue to keep updates on its progress. This is one of my very first trees and I’m excited about the potential I think it has! Thanks again for all the great information and for the welcome and support!
 

WSJIII

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Thought I would update this thread with photos of the tree after it arrived and I slip potted it. The tree arrived in great shape and was packaged very well. When it arrived it was (obviously) root-bound in that small round planter (see early post), but fortunately the roots were grown around some very course gravel-looking material - unsure specifically what it was. Without cutting or tearing any of the roots, I loosened some of the gravel from the root tangle and spread some of the roots out radially as much as I could careful not to rip or tear them and applied some rooting hormone. Next I planted it in a slightly larger grow box (see photos attached) in mixture of hard akadama, course river sand, and calcine clay - making sure to gently poke into the root ball to fill any air gaps. I have kept the tree reasonably moist and out of the bright afternoon sun (fortunately its been cloudy most this week) and keeping the sphagnum moss around parts of the tree to hold a little moisture. I do agree that it has been a little difficult to monitor moisture levels but I've been very attentive to the tree and check it several times a day :) Initially after the slip potting, i had a little leaf droop - seems likely from no sun for the week of transit - but after a couple days back to being pretty perky! So far so good, but I am brand new so if you've got any additional suggestions, i love learning from you all! Let me know what you think.
 

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Colorado

Omono
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So, what you’ve described is not “slip potting.” Even if you’re not cutting any roots, removing the old soil and spreading the roots out radially sounds more like a full repot.

I hope it works out. It is a nice little maple.

What are your plans for wintering the tree?
 

WSJIII

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@Omono, thank you for your response. I really hope I didn't go too far with it. It has responded well thus far. And when I mean spread roots radially, I should qualify I only loosened some of the exterior roots enough so it was ever so slightly feathered around the ball. It has been in a shady spot and I'll continue to baby it. I'm very happy with the shape of the tree and plan to winter it in both a garden room I have off my back patio (connected to house, but all windows and no central heat/AC) and I am also planning to build or buy a little winter cold frame that will accommodate my trees. It would be positioned for morning sun and shelter from wind. I'd also consider planting many of my trees in their pots in a flower bed I have against the house in the back yard, but afraid my 2 golden retrievers might take a liking to them. Might you have any other suggestions or what do you do for your trees here in Colorado?
 

Oerc201

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@Omono, thank you for your response. I really hope I didn't go too far with it. It has responded well thus far. And when I mean spread roots radially, I should qualify I only loosened some of the exterior roots enough so it was ever so slightly feathered around the ball. It has been in a shady spot and I'll continue to baby it. I'm very happy with the shape of the tree and plan to winter it in both a garden room I have off my back patio (connected to house, but all windows and no central heat/AC) and I am also planning to build or buy a little winter cold frame that will accommodate my trees. It would be positioned for morning sun and shelter from wind. I'd also consider planting many of my trees in their pots in a flower bed I have against the house in the back yard, but afraid my 2 golden retrievers might take a liking to them. Might you have any other suggestions or what do you do for your trees here in Colorado?
If you only spread the outside of the roots a little it should be fine. As long as you didnt disturb the whole rootball. Good luck. Nice tree
 

Colorado

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@Omono, thank you for your response. I really hope I didn't go too far with it. It has responded well thus far. And when I mean spread roots radially, I should qualify I only loosened some of the exterior roots enough so it was ever so slightly feathered around the ball. It has been in a shady spot and I'll continue to baby it. I'm very happy with the shape of the tree and plan to winter it in both a garden room I have off my back patio (connected to house, but all windows and no central heat/AC) and I am also planning to build or buy a little winter cold frame that will accommodate my trees. It would be positioned for morning sun and shelter from wind. I'd also consider planting many of my trees in their pots in a flower bed I have against the house in the back yard, but afraid my 2 golden retrievers might take a liking to them. Might you have any other suggestions or what do you do for your trees here in Colorado?

Those sound like good options. I keep mine in the shade during the winter, on the north side of my detached garage. I also place them inside the garage if we are going to get temperatures in the single digits or lower, and then place them back outside once the worst of the cold front blows through.
 

Apex37

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Man this is a nice tree to start with. Been in hobby for almost year and don't even have a tree close to this. Lol
I hope it takes the repotting well, I'd love to see the progression on this one.
 

WSJIII

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Thank you @apex. I actually found it on eBay. It arrived in great shape - except for the potting situation. Will be happy to keep this thread going on this one. It’s my favorite of my small start of a collection. This site has been a great resource and inspiration. Also appreciate the interaction with likeminded, knowledgeable folks, so thanks to all. Stay tuned.
 

JudyB

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@Omono, thank you for your response. I really hope I didn't go too far with it. It has responded well thus far. And when I mean spread roots radially, I should qualify I only loosened some of the exterior roots enough so it was ever so slightly feathered around the ball. It has been in a shady spot and I'll continue to baby it. I'm very happy with the shape of the tree and plan to winter it in both a garden room I have off my back patio (connected to house, but all windows and no central heat/AC) and I am also planning to build or buy a little winter cold frame that will accommodate my trees. It would be positioned for morning sun and shelter from wind. I'd also consider planting many of my trees in their pots in a flower bed I have against the house in the back yard, but afraid my 2 golden retrievers might take a liking to them. Might you have any other suggestions or what do you do for your trees here in Colorado?
I would find a place for your winter storage where there is as little sun as possible. Dormant trees need no sun.( think about all the trees that get completely buried in snow all winter..) Also sun brings warmth, something you def want to steer away from, as that means heat. When the trees heat up to above about 42F for any length of time after dormancy hours are reached, they can break dormancy, something you really want to keep from happening. If you have a tree that is bud swelling and possibly breaking bud and leaves coming out in the middle of winter you have a huge problem. My zone is pretty similar to yours so I do have an overwintering space, but I have some tools to keep the sun out and the cool in.
 

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