Nursery taxus: repot, style, or both?

Agriff

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So I bought a yew nursery stock at a bonsai club auction yesterday. It was a $20 gamble because I bought it sight-unseen, assuming that it had a good chance of being purchased in the first place because it was a decent bonsai candidate.

Nebari is lacking from what I can see now, but I haven't gotten down to all of the roots yet.

My question is, what's more important: directing the energy flow of this stock by pruning and styling, or getting it out of it's nursery pot? I'd be plunking it into a home depot pond basket.

My gut says I need to get it out of it's original soil ASAP, because I've heard yews are susceptible to root rot, but I've also seen a few yews on here that have been styled in their original pots.

If I so in fact need to look at a repot, should I bare root or play it gentle and leave some soil on? And following the one insult per year rule, should I wait to style until next spring, or are yews able to take a beating?
 

sorce

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I'd ask @just.wing.it cuz I think he's killed more than anyone else.

I think "they're susceptible to root rot" is a myth, since they're happy in the shade.

I really don't think we've figured them out yet.

Sorce
 

just.wing.it

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I've always had good success with hard cutbacks and bare rooting,...for about 2 seasons or so....then they die.
I think if I ever get another Yew, I will try the Half Bare Rooting technique instead. That has been safe for me so far with juniper and pine.

I'm assuming the bare rooting was it.
 

Agriff

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I've always had good success with hard cutbacks and bare rooting,...for about 2 seasons or so....then they die.
I think if I ever get another Yew, I will try the Half Bare Rooting technique instead. That has been safe for me so far with juniper and pine.

I'm assuming the bare rooting was it.
Reading through your past threads, it seems like you've typically done bare rootings and hard cut backs at the same time. I wonder if the key might be to let it recover after the repot longer than you think. I have a hunch that those flushes you were getting were from stored energy, giving the illusion of vigor. Just a theory though.
 

just.wing.it

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Reading through your past threads, it seems like you've typically done bare rootings and hard cut backs at the same time. I wonder if the key might be to let it recover after the repot longer than you think. I have a hunch that those flushes you were getting were from stored energy, giving the illusion of vigor. Just a theory though.
Could certainly be.... i should try again next year.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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You need to see the nebari before you do anything irreversible in styling. With my pines, I separate repotting from any other work by a full season, sometimes 2 or 3 years. I wait after repotting for a full season of vigorous growth. Only THEN is the pine ready for styling. Same seems to work with spruce. Going slow, giving the tree one full season or more to recover will "do no harm", rushing a tree, doing too much too soon will kill the tree. If you have to ask, you should probably opt for the slow route. Half bare root now. Half bare root in 2022, and maybe begin styling in 2023 or 2024. Depending on how vigorous the yew grows after repotting.

The cure for impatience, is go out and buy another tree, so you have other trees to work on while waiting for this one to recover.

You might get away with a full bare root repotting if you did zero pruning or cutting back this year. But the safe route is half bare root.
 

Agriff

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You need to see the nebari before you do anything irreversible in styling. With my pines, I separate repotting from any other work by a full season, sometimes 2 or 3 years. I wait after repotting for a full season of vigorous growth. Only THEN is the pine ready for styling. Same seems to work with spruce. Going slow, giving the tree one full season or more to recover will "do no harm", rushing a tree, doing too much too soon will kill the tree. If you have to ask, you should probably opt for the slow route. Half bare root now. Half bare root in 2022, and maybe begin styling in 2023 or 2024. Depending on how vigorous the yew grows after repotting.

The cure for impatience, is go out and buy another tree, so you have other trees to work on while waiting for this one to recover.

You might get away with a full bare root repotting if you did zero pruning or cutting back this year. But the safe route is half bare root.
Yeah, I'm ok going super slow because I have a few other things I'm working on. When do you think I could half bare root? Should I wait for the fall or would it be ok to do this late into the summer?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Yeah, I'm ok going super slow because I have a few other things I'm working on. When do you think I could half bare root? Should I wait for the fall or would it be ok to do this late into the summer?
This advise is for you in Minneapolis, this is NOT for people growing yews in TEXAS, or other hot growing regions.

If you have no trouble keeping up on watering, I would repot middle or end of July. You want to get as much time as possible for a new root system to recover before winter sets in. In fact, like Vance Wood in his advice about when to repot Mugo pines. This week would not be that bad. If you don't have a lot of soft green foliage, I would say go ahead and repot now. Key is you will have to keep up on watering. Don't let it get too dry. Also put the freshly repotted yew in afternoon shade anytime temps are going to go over 90 F.

For us "northern tier" growers, summer repotting, even as early as the summer solstice is not that bad. Since you are only doing the half bare root the other half of the root system will keep on supporting the whole tree.
 

Agriff

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This advise is for you in Minneapolis, this is NOT for people growing yews in TEXAS, or other hot growing regions.

If you have no trouble keeping up on watering, I would repot middle or end of July. You want to get as much time as possible for a new root system to recover before winter sets in. In fact, like Vance Wood in his advice about when to repot Mugo pines. This week would not be that bad. If you don't have a lot of soft green foliage, I would say go ahead and repot now. Key is you will have to keep up on watering. Don't let it get too dry. Also put the freshly repotted yew in afternoon shade anytime temps are going to go over 90 F.

For us "northern tier" growers, summer repotting, even as early as the summer solstice is not that bad. Since you are only doing the half bare root the other half of the root system will keep on supporting the whole tree.
Thank you!! Do you have any resources on half bare rooting? I never know whether to picture the 50% of soil removed coming in the shape of a half circle or an outer doughnut, if that makes sense. Or does it matter?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Half circle. Actually, you will remove about a third of the roots off the bottom, then bare root a half circle, one side of the tree. So the end result is one third removed (lowest third) and then half of the remaining is teased out and trimmed. So the first repot you actually end up removing a third and disturbing a third. Important to not disturb the other half of the circle.
 
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