Old needles dying on scots pine - how did I screw up?

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,886
Reaction score
22,392
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
All this HBR stuff is unnecessary with mugos and scots if one repots in summer (i.e., between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox).
The “HBR stuff” is how to replace old soil in the central core of the rootball. It’s most often used when moving trees out of standard nurseryman’s soil used by landscape nurseries into bonsai soil for the first time.

The time of year has nothing to do with it.
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,546
Reaction score
8,459
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
The “HBR stuff” is how to replace old soil in the central core of the rootball. It’s most often used when moving trees out of standard nurseryman’s soil used by landscape nurseries into bonsai soil for the first time.

The time of year has nothing to do with it.
Okay. HBR is not necessary with mugos and scots - they can be BR-ed.

I recommend repotting mugos and scots in summer. I think it is the nature of these species and has nothing to with my age nor @Vance Wood's nor with the sissy climate where I live on an island in western Washington state. Vance lives in a much harsher climate in Michigan. He also recommends summer repotting and his personal experience is far longer than mine.
 
Last edited:

Velodog2

Chumono
Messages
856
Reaction score
1,616
Location
Central Maryland
I sense the start of a pissing match here and before that happens I would like to know the rationale behind summer repotting. Many (most) species of trees are repotted in early spring because roots are actively growing, I believe, and if/when damage is done to them they are able to push new root growth to recover quickly. How does summer repotting manage that?
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
12,990
Reaction score
14,223
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I sense the start of a pissing match here and before that happens I would like to know the rationale behind summer repotting. Many (most) species of trees are repotted in early spring because roots are actively growing, I believe, and if/when damage is done to them they are able to push new root growth to recover quickly. How does summer repotting manage that?
If you had followed for years the discussions about Mugo Pines here and elsewhere you would have noticed that many did not grow Mugos because they were so easy to kill, or they tried them and they all died so on and so forth. All of the books at the time made mention that the Mugo was sensitive to repotting and that you had to be very careful about disturbing the roots. When I started doing demos for the club I belonged to back in the early 80's and 90's I would use Mugo Pines to do the demos. Most of the demos were done in the summer and because I did not want to kill a tree that belonged to someone else I provided my own material and kept it. It did not take too long for me to notice that all of these demo trees were surviving the process after being treated in a way that was almost guaranteed to kill any other tree treated in this manner. I began teaching this here and in person and have continued to do so for many years. The truth: I have never lost a Mugo to summer repotting, but I have lost Mugos to Spring repotting; they just don't like having the root disturbed right after they wake up.
 

Velodog2

Chumono
Messages
856
Reaction score
1,616
Location
Central Maryland
I did not follow those threads but have understood the ‘special’ nature of mugos with regard to repotting. Do Scots work the same or is summer repotting simply benign to them? If so do all pines regard summer repotting the same? Is there any logical understanding of why mugos behave the way they do, speculative or otherwise?

I just want to add mention of my great respect for both Adair and Osoyoung who are far above me in terms of experience and knowledge in these areas and how much I appreciate their participation in this discussion.
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,886
Reaction score
22,392
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
Okay. HBR is not necessary with mugos and scots - they can be BR-ed.

I recommend repotting mugos and scots in summer. I think it is the nature of these species and has nothing to with my age nor @Vance Wood's nor with the sissy climate where I live on an island in western Washington state. Vance lives in a much harsher climate in Michigan. He also recommends summer repotting and his personal experience is far longer than mine.
Oso, did I mention your age? Or Vance’s? Or mine? Did I mention anyone’s location?

No.

I merely stated the HBR method is a safe way to transition trees from non-bonsai soil to bonsai soil.

I don’t do Mugo or Scots pine. They are both more suited for colder climates than I have here. Vance has proven that the summer repotting schedule works for him. I’m not disputing that. Whenever you transition a conifer from an organic based soil mix to an inorganic mix, the HBR method works.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
20,642
Reaction score
27,686
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Because Mugo and Scots are one flush pines....they....like spruce, and everything else with one flush....

Do nothing BUT grow roots after the solstice.

THIS is why it works.

And Why it doesn't matter (except how it does) if you do HBR or regular.

The way I see it...HBR can free a rootmass of old soil a little quicker and safer.

Thing is...with these nursery mugos started in small pots and their tight mass of squared interior roots.....
There really is no safe HBR....cuz ...well....the roots circle to both sides...

There simply is NO HALF!

So I will continue to fuckroot mine into submission.....live or die.....
It is the aesthetic end I seek!

And I grabbed a bag full of cones yesterday so plant plant! Fuck wraproots!

Sorce
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
12,990
Reaction score
14,223
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
Because Mugo and Scots are one flush pines....they....like spruce, and everything else with one flush....

Do nothing BUT grow roots after the solstice.

THIS is why it works.

And Why it doesn't matter (except how it does) if you do HBR or regular.

The way I see it...HBR can free a rootmass of old soil a little quicker and safer.

Thing is...with these nursery mugos started in small pots and their tight mass of squared interior roots.....
There really is no safe HBR....cuz ...well....the roots circle to both sides...

There simply is NO HALF!

So I will continue to fuckroot mine into submission.....live or die.....
It is the aesthetic end I seek!

And I grabbed a bag full of cones yesterday so plant plant! Fuck wraproots!

Sorce
I agree with your assessment on the HBR and nursery mugos, some of these trees have major roots that circle each other more than once in many circumstances. The older and larger the tree the more profound the problem will be. This problem can be dealt with by cutting into the soil ball a little at a time with replacing the old soil as your goal. It is difficult to give you a by the number run down on how this is done happens to be subjective on the basis of each tree. However your statement that these trees do nothing but grow roots after the solstice is not true. They produce buds, a lot of buds, if you cut the new growth at the same time. This is a subject for another post.
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,886
Reaction score
22,392
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
Because Mugo and Scots are one flush pines....they....like spruce, and everything else with one flush....

Do nothing BUT grow roots after the solstice.

THIS is why it works.

And Why it doesn't matter (except how it does) if you do HBR or regular.

The way I see it...HBR can free a rootmass of old soil a little quicker and safer.

Thing is...with these nursery mugos started in small pots and their tight mass of squared interior roots.....
There really is no safe HBR....cuz ...well....the roots circle to both sides...

There simply is NO HALF!

So I will continue to fuckroot mine into submission.....live or die.....
It is the aesthetic end I seek!

And I grabbed a bag full of cones yesterday so plant plant! Fuck wraproots!

Sorce
When choosing a “half”, it doesn’t matter which half you choose, could be the front, back, left, or right. Generally, most raw stock has one portion that worse than the other. Do the worst half first.

And it doesn’t have to be half. You might choose do do a third. Or even a quarter. It depends!

The point is, however, make sure there are little feeder roots teased out that will be in the new soil.

This is a improvement on the old “cut pie slices” method. Cutting pie slices leaves smooth edges of rootball. No teased out little feeder roots.
 

River's Edge

Omono
Messages
1,743
Reaction score
3,634
Location
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
USDA Zone
8b
I sense the start of a pissing match here and before that happens I would like to know the rationale behind summer repotting. Many (most) species of trees are repotted in early spring because roots are actively growing, I believe, and if/when damage is done to them they are able to push new root growth to recover quickly. How does summer repotting manage that?
I believe the rationale behind summer repotting could stem from the fact that in some climates, trees can enter a period of dormancy during hot and dry conditions, followed by a short period of root growth in preparation for winter. That is the reasoning behind collectors using fall as the second best time to collect Yamadori. The very best time is spring and just before new growth begins. I believe Peter Warren states the obvious very clearly.
"Repot and prune deciduous trees before the buds break and start to grow."
"Repot conifers by late spring, They take a long time to recover, and must be ready for winter."
Published 2014, Consultant Editor William N. Valavanis. Bonsai Techniques Styles Display Ideas.
This advice is consistent with the teaching of professionals i have worked with and studied under. It is common knowledge that an experienced and well trained individual can work successfully outside of the norm with good results.
I believe this applies in particular to repotting, as there are many details that can improve the chances for success both during the process and in the provision of aftercare. Which is why in the right circumstances it make a lot of sense to try an emergency repot. And also why bare rooting can be an excellent skill to have in ones tool box.
From my experience collecting, i have noticed a difference in the recovery period of trees collected in the spring. They appear to do much better than those collected in the late summer, early fall. I collect only conifers. The single most important observation from experience is that the core compact of old soil in the centre is the most important area to deal with. This dead zone creates many issues for Bonsai trees in pots.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
12,990
Reaction score
14,223
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I believe the rationale behind summer repotting could stem from the fact that in some climates, trees can enter a period of dormancy during hot and dry conditions, followed by a short period of root growth in preparation for winter. That is the reasoning behind collectors using fall as the second best time to collect Yamadori. The very best time is spring and just before new growth begins. I believe Peter Warren states the obvious very clearly.
"Repot and prune deciduous trees before the buds break and start to grow."
"Repot conifers by late spring, They take a long time to recover, and must be ready for winter."
Published 2014, Consultant Editor William N. Valavanis. Bonsai Techniques Styles Display Ideas.
This advice is consistent with the teaching of professionals i have worked with and studied under. It is common knowledge that an experienced and well trained individual can work successfully outside of the norm with good results.
I believe this applies in particular to repotting, as there are many details that can improve the chances for success both during the process and in the provision of aftercare. Which is why in the right circumstances it make a lot of sense to try an emergency repot. And also why bare rooting can be an excellent skill to have in ones tool box.
From my experience collecting, i have noticed a difference in the recovery period of trees collected in the spring. They appear to do much better than those collected in the late summer, early fall. I collect only conifers. The single most important observation from experience is that the core compact of old soil in the centre is the most important area to deal with. This dead zone creates many issues for Bonsai trees in pots.
You wrote: I believe the rationale behind summer repotting could stem from the fact that in some climates, trees can enter a period of dormancy during hot and dry conditions, followed by a short period of root growth in preparation for winter. What if your assumption is wrong? What do you think then?
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
20,642
Reaction score
27,686
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
This "period of dormancy" for me is only in the tops...

The roots keep growing.

Has nothing to do with hot, and my trees are always wet.

It's clockwork here.

The yellow Juniperus go green and grow new green.
The winged elm went wingy and grew wingy.
The Boxwood stop make close nodes and go.

It all happens a "the same time" with them all.

Sorce
 

Velodog2

Chumono
Messages
856
Reaction score
1,616
Location
Central Maryland
I’d forgotten about the repotting wars here ...

Anyway, after the odd winter behavior and possibly ill-considered repotting, the tree did slowly bud out but not very strongly, with the upper parts weaker than the lower branches. Then the second to top branch gave up and died. I’m not too sanguine about the apex either right now.

0A681BA0-F53D-4E8F-ABBA-DFC9C306EE57.jpeg

Since there were no spare branches left here the dead back branch leaves a hole. it’s not completely ruined as there is still a lot of depth, and if the apex dies I can raise the second branch up to make a new one. All compromises, but better than no tree at all, and I still enjoy looking at it.
 

Adair M

Pinus Envy
Messages
10,886
Reaction score
22,392
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
You might have some fungal issues. Some type of needlecast.

It couldn’t hurt to treat it with a systemic fungicide.

I have used the granular type of Bonide Infuse Granular Fungicide with good results. Available on Amazon.
 

Velodog2

Chumono
Messages
856
Reaction score
1,616
Location
Central Maryland
Thanks Adair. You could be right. This summer has been crazy wet here. Full sized trees are falling over from soft waterlogged soil and dying roots. I think I will try that fungicide - one of my Ponderosas is definitely having fungal issues.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
12,990
Reaction score
14,223
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
Much of what I have come to believe over the years is the possibility that our understanding of dormancy and what it means is flawed.
 

sierrajuniper

Seedling
Messages
24
Reaction score
10
You might have some fungal issues. Some type of needlecast.

It couldn’t hurt to treat it with a systemic fungicide.

I have used the granular type of Bonide Infuse Granular Fungicide with good results. Available on Amazon.
Hi Adair,

Do you use Bonide Infuse Granular twice a year for junipers like JBP? Thanks.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
Messages
12,990
Reaction score
14,223
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
5-6
I’d forgotten about the repotting wars here ...

Anyway, after the odd winter behavior and possibly ill-considered repotting, the tree did slowly bud out but not very strongly, with the upper parts weaker than the lower branches. Then the second to top branch gave up and died. I’m not too sanguine about the apex either right now.

View attachment 207449

Since there were no spare branches left here the dead back branch leaves a hole. it’s not completely ruined as there is still a lot of depth, and if the apex dies I can raise the second branch up to make a new one. All compromises, but better than no tree at all, and I still enjoy looking at it.
When did you wire the tree?
 

penumbra

Shohin
Messages
448
Reaction score
345
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
I don't have an answer for you but I live across the river from you in Virginia, actually in Front Royal in the Shenandoah Valley. I have a Scots pine I started as a two year old seedling about 35 years ago. Mine receives no winter protection at all and has had no problems with winter cold, wind or water. It was a couple degrees below zero here this winter and 3 winters ago it did fine at -14 degrees. It has been exceptionally dry time to time. When I pulled it out to look at the roots there was a huge amount of mycorrhiza around the entire root mass which I think has enabled it to live through everything thrown at it. It may be one of my most neglected plants and it really needs a re-potting. I had sawflies do some damage to it a few years back and because of that it needs restyling. In general I have had next to no problems with pines except design decisions (or lack of).
I believe your pine is going to be fine, based upon your pictures, but I do think it needs re-potting as it does look like a root problem to me.
 

Similar threads


Top Bottom