Repotting Question

Alex DeRuiter

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Hey everyone,

I plan on repotting a Brazilian rain tree in the spring. I don't plan on cutting any roots as the tree is going right back into a training pot. The plan is to plant the tree on a board so I can spread the nebari. That being the case, I'm going to bare-root the tree.

When I repot this tree, should I keep it in a shaded area for a couple weeks, or would filtered sun be okay? Does it depend on the species, or should all recently repotted trees be placed in the shade? I'm sure it depends on the vigor of the tree, but as a general rule of thumb...?

Thanks! :D
 

Bill S

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Haven't worked with this tree per se, but first thing to mind is I am not crazy about putting it on a board, it will hold water and the roots won't want to grow away from it. I would consider something that doesn't absorb water. Also why are you not pruning it while you have it bare rooted??

As far as ater care I will let others take that one, although I have done some pretty disruptive root work on some ficus( hack a Bunch off with sawsall ) then go the filtered route for a couple of weeks.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I see what you're saying about the board. I remember reading somewhere that it didn't really matter, but I'm still skeptical. The reason I was choosing the board is because it'd be easier to drill holes in it than a plate or something. Any suggestions for a different material?

The reason I don't plan on cutting the roots back is to avoid stressing the tree. Should I clip them back a little to try and promote more root growth?

I was thinking filtered light as well, but I don't know if shade would be more preferred by this species since they're a little finicky. Anyone have a fair amount of experience with BRTs?
 

Vance Wood

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I would do some research on this tree and ask around if anyone you know has experiece with them. I have known some people that have had them, and the important word is had, so from this I understand they are not as friendly to agressive methods as the bullet proof Ficus. As to the board. You should be able to also use a small plate or a flooring tile.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I was thinking tile, too, but I don't know if there's any tile material that's easy to drill through. I'll have to shop around a bit for it. I was also considering waterproofing some wood and using that, but I don't know if the chemicals from that would bleed into the roots or something. . . .

I repotted it about two years ago and it didn't take it too well. This was when I didn't know much about when to root prune, so that could be why.
 

Mike423

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I would recommend keeping the tree in a location where it will kept out of the sun entirely, but still able to receive strong indirect light for a week after repotting before placing back in its normal location. I have 2 BRT's and have always done this (with all my trees of a matter of fact) when repotting and had good results.

As for the Tile/wood plank etc.. what reasoning is it that you would see its useful? The roots, if fairly young and still pliable, should be able to be spread out in a radial pattern manually when repotting.
 

Stan Kengai

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As for the Tile/wood plank etc.. what reasoning is it that you would see its useful? The roots, if fairly young and still pliable, should be able to be spread out in a radial pattern manually when repotting.

+1

If you are repotting it into a fairly shallow container, there is no need to put a tile underneath. This technique is used mainly for planting in the ground, to keep big roots from growing downward. If the rootball is currently extremely tall or if there are a lot of large roots growing downward, then you can use a tile in a deepish container. Otherwise, just put it in a shallow container.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I would recommend keeping the tree in a location where it will kept out of the sun entirely, but still able to receive strong indirect light for a week after repotting before placing back in its normal location. I have 2 BRT's and have always done this (with all my trees of a matter of fact) when repotting and had good results.

As for the Tile/wood plank etc.. what reasoning is it that you would see its useful? The roots, if fairly young and still pliable, should be able to be spread out in a radial pattern manually when repotting.

I do this with my collected California Junipers... except I keep them in indirect light until I see new growth popping (which is normally about 4-6 weeks). Of course the sunlight here in Southern California can be brutal - even in February.
 

Kevster

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I use plexiglass for my roots. It's cheap can be cut with a saw easy to drill water proof and can be found at your home stores.
 

Vance Wood

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I use Plexiglas for my roots. It's cheap can be cut with a saw easy to drill water proof and can be found at your home stores.

This idea is brilliant, wish I had thought of it myself. It seems to me that it could also be used for the cultivation of fused root Maple groups as detailed in one of the Bonsai Today articles years ago, where seedling/liner Maples are inserted through holes in tiles and allow to become fused together at the base. This is far better than wood, a plate or a tile. It can be cut with a band saw to almost any shape and is flexible enough it is not likely to break if something on toward happens.
 

Kevster

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Vance I actually did have a piece crack on me. But I believe it was because it was a scrap piece my parents had laying outside. It gets a little brittle when it is exposed to a lot of direct sun light and I was ground layering a jap maple to start a new nebari so it had a lot of stress on it. And it was very thin. Maybe 1/8 of an inch. I'm not sure of the thickness I use now but it's about 1/4 inch and I haven't had any issues and have done several layers with ficus.
Just don't store it in sunlight and it will work great!
 

HotAction

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I am certainly no expert on BRT, but mine seems to take to repotting much better in the dead middle of summer. It is as if nothing even happened. Mine also seems to like the shade all the time.

Dave
 

Mike423

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I agree middle summer does seem to help it bounce back the quickest. I assume its due to a period of good growth in the early to mid summer, as well as it having the second half to recover. Since its a tropical, it likes any major work being done when its good and hot n humid..... who would have guessed. ;)
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Sorry it took me so long to respond -- long weekend. . . .

I would recommend keeping the tree in a location where it will kept out of the sun entirely, but still able to receive strong indirect light for a week after repotting before placing back in its normal location. I have 2 BRT's and have always done this (with all my trees of a matter of fact) when repotting and had good results.

As for the Tile/wood plank etc.. what reasoning is it that you would see its useful? The roots, if fairly young and still pliable, should be able to be spread out in a radial pattern manually when repotting.
The roots are somewhat young, but they're pretty hard now, so I'm assuming they won't be terribly easy to bend.

The reason I was going to choose wood is because it's easy to drill holes into...but now that a much better alternative has been suggested (see a bit further down in this response), I'm giving up on the wood idea.
+1

If you are repotting it into a fairly shallow container, there is no need to put a tile underneath. This technique is used mainly for planting in the ground, to keep big roots from growing downward. If the rootball is currently extremely tall or if there are a lot of large roots growing downward, then you can use a tile in a deepish container. Otherwise, just put it in a shallow container.
I'm going to repot the tree into a fairly large fabric pot, so the use of a tile or something to fix the roots will be necessary.
I use plexiglass for my roots. It's cheap can be cut with a saw easy to drill water proof and can be found at your home stores.
Kevster, thank you so much for this idea! That helps me out so much...and it's such a logical idea. You're the man :D
I am certainly no expert on BRT, but mine seems to take to repotting much better in the dead middle of summer. It is as if nothing even happened. Mine also seems to like the shade all the time.

Dave
Really? I always thought repotting in the summer was a death warrant.
I agree middle summer does seem to help it bounce back the quickest. I assume its due to a period of good growth in the early to mid summer, as well as it having the second half to recover. Since its a tropical, it likes any major work being done when its good and hot n humid..... who would have guessed. ;)
I know, it seems to counter intuitive. I never would've thought of summer being a good time to repot for any species.

Thank you all for your insight. Good thread. :)
 

Mike423

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"Really? I always thought repotting in the summer was a death warrant."

Yep, I've found repotting tropical's is always best in the summer months. Since the tropical varieties indigenous locations have no winter and are growing vigorously all year long it is best to repot and do any heavy pruning during the height of the summer (when working with them in a variable climate with a winter anyways) since that's when they are the strongest and growing actively. If your trees healthy and vigorous you could repot at another time, but around mid summer always seems to reduce stress and increase recovery time for tropicals.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Thanks for the clarification, Mike! I suppose I'll wait until summer to do the repotting. I'll post updates when anything of significance occurs. :D
 

Vance Wood

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"Really? I always thought repotting in the summer was a death warrant."

Yep, I've found repotting tropical's is always best in the summer months. Since the tropical varieties indigenous locations have no winter and are growing vigorously all year long it is best to repot and do any heavy pruning during the height of the summer (when working with them in a variable climate with a winter anyways) since that's when they are the strongest and growing actively. If your trees healthy and vigorous you could repot at another time, but around mid summer always seems to reduce stress and increase recovery time for tropicals.

This is true of a lot of things. It is not so much the temperature as it is the active and vigorous growth pattern, contrary to what most of us have heard, read and been told for years.
 

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