Planning a front for Cotoneaster

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So I picked up this cotoneaster last year when I saw the thick trunk and then promptly left it on my bench all year without touching it. I have trimmed it down where I can really see the trunks and initial branching and I'm now trying to decide a new front.

As received:
Screenshot_20200415-094804.png

Here is the current front as potted:

IMG_20200415_093157.jpg

Couple other angles. The problem is I have one trunk that has some movement but then the other just comes out like a fat cylinder. I was originally going to use this as the front and then just make the big cut and maybe try my hand at carving out the hollow left.
IMG_20200415_093444~2.jpg

That would leave me with a huge scar and that fat root coming straight at the viewer and no roots on the cut side. Even though I plan on repotting it deeper, I feel like that won't look great. So I spent some time spinning it around on the table.

Here is my current idea. The roots will spread to the sides, giving an overall thicker feel to the nebari, while giving a little taper through the trunk to the far left leader. Instead of removing the uninteresting trunk, I'll put it behind the main and use it for depth in the final design.

IMG_20200415_094201.jpg
 

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Forsoothe!

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Can you rotate forward and bury more?
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I like this cotoneaster. Like you I really dislike that big root. Why not repot now? Remove enough of the lower half of the root mass that the tree sits level in the pot. It is a sign that who ever potted that tree up originally didn't now what they were doing. Trees on big mounds of soil above the rim of the pot are trees potted up by amateurs. There are certain times when mounding is okay. In a big wash tub shaped pot, this should never be. The potting media should be a little below the rim all the way across this pot.

So repot now, and get the roots shaved off the bottom, until it fits the pot. Get that fat root buried. In time new radial roots will develop, and give you a nice nebari, but for the next 5 years or so you need to keep the new developing nebari buried or you will be stuck with that fat, ugly root forever.

I like this as a front, as you can not see that fat ugly root. So just repot now and get it done with. You just pruned back hard, there are few growing tips, repotting now will only delay the new growth a few weeks.

 
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I like this as a front, as you can not see that fat ugly root. So just repot now and get it done with. You just pruned back hard, there are few growing tips, repotting now will only delay the new growth a few weeks.
Bold. I like it - and these things grow like weeds here. I'll put it back on the table and look at the planting angle you suggested.
 
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So I took @Leo in N E Illinois advice and repotted this tree today. I'm glad he suggested it! As I thought, there were a few surprises in there. Ultimately, I decided on the new front that I proposed in the beginning, putting some movement up front and putting that big fatty Lumpkin trunk in the rear.

Pot shaped roots!
IMG_20200416_123658.jpg

Digging in, the big ugly root and several others went down and twisted back up under the tree. I ended up removing a lot of these claws. Fortunately, they didn't have a lot of feeders coming off of them, they were just fat taps.

IMG_20200416_125607.jpg

I cut as far back as I felt comfortable, removing many thick roots and leaving behind as many feeders as possible. I removed the big tap root up to the soil line, where it actually had a thin feeder coming off. Hopefully that feeder will create some taper on fatty.

The finished product.

IMG_20200416_132448.jpg

I will have to do one more extensive bit of root work as there is still one more large lump under the trunk, but I wasn't comfortable taking that much off this go around.

As potted, the tree moves left a little and I intend to build the Apex back up just over centerline of the pot.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Really nice. Good work. I am glad you dove in there. See how much better that tree & pot combination is with the potting media closer to level. The pot looks more in proportion to the size of the tree. Nice job. Give it a year or two, then finish the work. Well done.
 
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