Repotting & Root Soaking

Mike423

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I have heard from a few sources that soaking a trees root ball in a liquid supplement mixture when repotting for a period of time can be beneficial in giving the tree a boost/reduce the 'down time' in the tree from the initial shock after repotting. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with doing this or something similar, and if so with what type of bonsai (tropical, deciduous), with what sort of supplements (superthrive, seaweed extract, rooting hormone, etc..) and with what results.

On a similar note I always wondered if it was wise to fertilize a tree in the few days prior to repotting? Has anyone done any testing on this or know the effects?

-Mike
 
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DaveV

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Hi Mike. I have not heard of soaking tree root balls in supplements prior to repotting except for fungicide for root rot problems - a healthy tree should not have to be soaked in anything. If its for nutrients, I would think that watering your tree with supplements immediately after repotting would not be different than soaking the root ball. Personally, I think watering after repotting would be better since the supplements would soak into the bonsai soil. Just my thoughts.

DaveV
 

Dav4

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I have heard of some folks who will soak the rootballs of either newly collected trees or those being re-potted in a dilute mix of liquid fert and/or vit B. I doubt there is any benefit to this practice. As a side note, I think newly collected or re-potted trees shouldn't have fertilizer withheld after potting. They should be fed like any other tree in your collection.

Dave
 

bonsai barry

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I usually soak my transplants or repots in a tub of water with Vit.B. I have no idea if it helps the tree or not, but it always me to slow down and do things right, while I wait for the tree to absorb the infused water.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I sometimes soak mine after I remove all the old soil if I'm bare-rooting, and always have a wheelbarrow full of water with some Roots2 solution nearby to dunk the roots if they're starting to get dry. Then, after I water them thoroughly to get dust out of the pots, I'll submerge the newly potted tree in the solution for 10-15 minutes.
 

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jk_lewis

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Those supplements are something like magic; if you believe in them, they'll probably work for you. If you don't, they won't.

If you have a lot of root work to do, keeping the roots wet by the occasional dunking in water is always a good thing.

Fertilizing before hand certainly won't hurt anything, but it is more important to fertilize after you've done the work.
 

Mike423

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Sounds like a lot of you are mentioning fertilizing the tree after repotting. I never have done this due to the fact of learning that it could be harmful if done before waiting around a month after. I heard this from many sources when I was a beginner doing research and it has sort of stuck with me since then. Never really pushed the envelope though to see if it held any water myself though. Is that information wrong then about fertilizing damaging the roots after repotting (assuming the tree is healthy of course) ?
 

Dav4

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Sounds like a lot of you are mentioning fertilizing the tree after repotting. I never have done this due to the fact of learning that it could be harmful if done before waiting around a month after. I heard this from many sources when I was a beginner doing research and it has sort of stuck with me since then. Never really pushed the envelope though to see if it held any water myself though. Is that information wrong then about fertilizing damaging the roots after repotting (assuming the tree is healthy of course) ?
I personally believe this is one of those bonsai myths. If you are following the label instructions with whatever ferts you use and you've got a good, free draining soil mix that requires frequent watering, I think it's impossible to have salts build up in the soil to a level that would injure root tissue, even those that have been traumatized via recent root work. I fertilize weekly, using either miracle gro or fish emulsion, full strength, starting in March (beginning of the growing season here in GA). Established or recently re-potted trees get the same treatment.
 
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Witholding fertilizer after transplant is like a following sea, or a downwind turn.:D

The plant needs high N especially after root work, the boat does not care and the airplane will not fall out of the sky.
 

october

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Well, I am not sure about any actual proof either way.. However, it is true that many of the Masters do not recommend fertilizing nutil either about 6-8 weeks or until the tree begins growing..

There is more to it than the alleged "root burn" which, I agree that if used as directed and the appropriate fertlizer, that root burn will not be an issue.. However, from a horticulturally point of view.. After a tree has heavy root work done, the tree goes into a state where it is like transplant shock or stagnant. It is not taking up any nutrients at this time...so fertilizing at this time is just wasted and either just drains through or sits in the pot unused. Which is one reason why they say ..fertilize when the tree starts growing again.. This is what I was taught

I want to say again that this is what I was taught.. I will say that I have never fertilized after a repotting and my trees have always turned out incredibly healthy. However, I am not saying that the same result could not come from fertilizing right after a repot. I am not necessarilly taking sides here. I am just explaining what I learned from some top artists regarding fertilizing after a repot.
 

Smoke

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If the tree is in the grow out phase and long internodes do not matter, or needle length on pines is not an issue, or huge leaves does not matter to you, then yes go ahead and fertilize with ORGANIC fertilizer after repot.

If on the other hand, your trees are farther along and you wish to exhibit one in the next few months at your local club show, then I hold back on the fertilizer until mid May. This keeps internodal growth short, needles shorter, and leaves far smaller. If you are fertilizing on a regimen all year long there is plenty of reserve to carry the tree for a whole year without fertilizer. It will just begin to get weak by fall but will not die.

Hydrateing roots on repot is a thing that will have to be learned. It depends on how much work on the rootball is needed and how long it will be out of the soil. I can repot a large tree up to 25 inches tall start to finish in about 20 minutes. With everything prepared this is easy. If I have root work to do I just spray them with a bottle or wrap them in moss and a bag. I need the tree close by so a soak is not really benificial.
 
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