Rootbound JBP

Pennbonsai

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I acquired a large jbp this year from a local nursery and left it in the nursery pot because I thought it was too late in the year to repot. However it is very slow in the candles extending and when I checked the status of the roots in the pot it is nearly a solid root mass circling the pot. Would it be advantageous to cut back some of the circling roots and repot it into something bigger or would it be safe to wait until spring next year? I don’t want to harm the tree but also think being rootbound may be causing the extremely slow growth.
 

Tieball

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Just to be helpful. You should:
Add your location to your profile to get better targeted replies.
Attach a photo of your JBP.

This will help you get some good answers.
 

Pennbonsai

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All my other evergreens have already extended so I’m worried the tree may be suffering
 

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sorce

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How much extra heat are those rocks holding all night?

Welcome to Crazy!

The rootboundedness would cause a lack of water penetration which would cause slow growth.

I have a mugo been getting eatin by rolly pollys in the roots and it's alive, but didn't grow at all.

I was looking at a spruce today in a nursery pot that had done the whole...shrink from around the pot walls thing which makes water take that that path of least resistance....cinching the top with a bungee cord or the like, to prevent that run off could help regularly before Repot.

But the first thing I would do is weigh it "dry".
Weigh it watered normal.
Then weigh it after being dunked in a bucket for an hour or 2.

That will let you know how much water actually isn't getting to the core.

Aerating the soil with a bbq skewer can help.
Or just keep dunk wetting it if the bungee cord doesn't work.

Sorce
 

Tieball

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I would wait until the right seasonal time for Western Pennsylvania.

Getting water to the roots now though. I’ve poked holes through thickness like you mention with a simple old screwdriver. I would wiggle it through rather than just hammer it through. A long dull pointed screwdriver helped my irrigation…..I had a screwdriver, thin flat tip, where I ground the end down like a knitting needle because the driver handle is easier to work with push in and pulling out.

I can’t see how big, or how small, that plastic pot is but it may be restricting growth for the size of the tree causing the tree to under-develop. My first though was that the tree was actually dug up recently and forced into the smaller plastic container from a larger container or from burlap.

I've also up-potted a pine with a lot of roots without cutting or disturbing the roots much. I select a pot just a bit larger and fill the edge with similar soil/substrate that already exists. You’d still need to poke some holes in the original rootball area…otherwise water will flow to the least resistant sides and your rootball would remain dry. Experts could tell you this is quite risky though.

I guess in a similar scenario, I have a pine in a small flat wooden box which I’m certain is very root bound. It’s been in the box for about 4 years now. The pine seems to enjoy life bound up. Growth is slower. Back budding is frequent. Needles extend but I keep pinching 3/4 of the needles off creating a more compact lower growth. I water the tree daily. I poke holes in the soil each spring when the candles begin to form.

I have full size yard pines that sometimes have slow needle growth years, usually it is a lack of water and hot temperatures. Like we have had around the country this year. If I water well the trees seem to return with growth.

I have not needed it but periodic dunking and resting the pot and all in water can help assure the rootball gets moistened. It’s work but not that bad really. So…Does that rock formation that the pot is sitting in have drainage?

I am not a pine expert though. Hopefully some of the experts will chime in here with their thoughts and experience.
 

Paradox

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Do not mess with the roots now.

How fast does the water drain through the pot?
As suggested, poke some holes in the soil with a screwdriver if the water is slow to drain

I also would not decandle it this year
 

Potawatomi13

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Good advice above. No repot or root work till normal time after last hard freezing weather late Winter/early Spring 2022. Would be good to see whole container with something for size reference;). Currently could remove surface substrate to reveal surface rootage.
 

Shibui

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I am wondering if part of the 'slow growth' is due to the variety. Short needles and multiple shoots at most locations looks like one of the dwarf - Yatsubusa cultivars. Growth in previous years also looks quite short so likely a characteristic of this one.
Pot bound could also be adding to the slow growth but I would also wait for a more accepted time to do any repotting then do it properly.

Meanwhile pay close attention to watering. Root bound pots are notorious for being hard to water properly. A good soak in a bucket every few weeks is a good idea if there is any concern.
 

Pennbonsai

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Thanks for all the information. The rocks around it are to keep the high winds from knocking the whole thing over they’re just stacked around it nothing is between the pot and the soil/yard underneath. The tree itself is about 4 feet tall I purchased it for a garden tree due to its size and already present whorls I don’t really expect to get great success with turning it into a bonsai so much as I would anything else in development I purchased it because I rarely see them in my area. The nursery told me it was a banshosho variety. I’ll try the soaking method to water I’m sure it will help until I can repot in the appropriate season.
 

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