Surface/circling roots on mugo nursery stock . . .

Marozia

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Hey! This is my very first post (not to mention tree) so please be gentle :)

I’ve been lurking here for a year or so, and for the last few weeks I’ve been collecting cheap nursery stock to mangle horribly and/or murder. I figure after five-ten years of that, I’ll be ready to attempt a real bonsai.

ANYWAY. I’m leaning into the newbie bit hard, so first up is a mugo pine (scored at Lowe’s, no less). I read through the mugo tutorial compiled from Vance Wood’s instructions, and even followed most of them! (I know, I’m a couple of weeks early potting this guy.)

I swear I wasn’t digging for nebari, but I was trying to find the whole entire trunk. These growers let the tree get hella root bound at pretty much every size, it looks like, so the last few inches of trunk are surrounded by twisted tangled circling roots, as pictured, with maybe 1/4 - 1/3” between these surface roots and the tru

I understand that it’s a real bad idea to go chopping through this mess now, so I didn’t do much besides loosen up what I could after sawing off the bottom third of the football.

When, how, or do I even try to address this wall o’ roots? Do I cut out a portion of them every 3-4 years when repotting? Do I leave them alone and see if they end up fusing into something spiffy? I’m not sure how close to the actual base I’ve even gotten, I chickened out at this point.

Thanks in advance!

A0D29B7C-A51C-41A9-B876-89225238019E.jpeg
 

JackHammer

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Hey! This is my very first post (not to mention tree) so please be gentle :)

I’ve been lurking here for a year or so, and for the last few weeks I’ve been collecting cheap nursery stock to mangle horribly and/or murder. I figure after five-ten years of that, I’ll be ready to attempt a real bonsai.

ANYWAY. I’m leaning into the newbie bit hard, so first up is a mugo pine (scored at Lowe’s, no less). I read through the mugo tutorial compiled from Vance Wood’s instructions, and even followed most of them! (I know, I’m a couple of weeks early potting this guy.)

I swear I wasn’t digging for nebari, but I was trying to find the whole entire trunk. These growers let the tree get hella root bound at pretty much every size, it looks like, so the last few inches of trunk are surrounded by twisted tangled circling roots, as pictured, with maybe 1/4 - 1/3” between these surface roots and the tru

I understand that it’s a real bad idea to go chopping through this mess now, so I didn’t do much besides loosen up what I could after sawing off the bottom third of the football.

When, how, or do I even try to address this wall o’ roots? Do I cut out a portion of them every 3-4 years when repotting? Do I leave them alone and see if they end up fusing into something spiffy? I’m not sure how close to the actual base I’ve even gotten, I chickened out at this point.

Thanks in advance!

View attachment 378600
Hi Marozia,

Great to hear about your new pine! Congrats. :)

I also picked up a mugo recently. They are pretty fun.

As far as the roots, I would probably trim what sticks out of the ground. It does seem to be a good number of roots so make sure the tree has time to recover before you do anything else to it.
 

sorce

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Mighta shoulda waited!

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Paradox

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First, welcome to the nut house
Second, please put your location on your profile so we don't have to ask you where you are and can give you appropriate advice.

Can you post a picture of the whole tree?

You are both too late and a tad early for repotting these. I've repotted Mugo pine in early spring as the buds just swell and after Father's day with success. My advice is to put the tree in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade for 2 to 3 weeks to let it start to recover from repotting. Fertilize in a few weeks once it starts to grow again. Leave it alone and do nothing but water and fertilize until fall. This fall you can wire the branches.

As for the roots, you can deal with those gradually over time and successive repottings. At each repot, assess the roots and remove one or two of the circling ones as long as there is enough other roots left to support the tree. This will take several years since you will only be repotting every 3 years or so.
 

Forsoothe!

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I'm gonna bet that you're right in the first place and @Vance Wood will say to pull some free each time you repot and by the time the tree amounts to much, you'll be down to whatever nebari there is in there. And, Lawrence is as close as you have to come to location!;)
 

Paradox

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If the OP already has their location on their profile, great. I'm on my phone, they don't show up on it for some reason
 

HorseloverFat

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Fists clenched over amulets to the sky, in recognition of your arrival, traveler! I trust the calloused hands of the ferryman guided your journey here with grace, safe passage is of utmost importance.

Take a moment, now that you’ve arrived.. greet and converse with The Woody Dwarves, for THEY are preparing the feast, and will need to know any allergies or dietary restrictions....

Follow Vance’s steps... he’s the local Guru/Godfather of the best Mugo “approach” (because it differs from others in timing) that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing..

I love this place... like a freaky, communal bazaar of knowledge/experience... take when you need, or is offered... Give when you can, or is needed.

Pleasure to make your acquaintance.
 

leatherback

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Fists clenched over amulets to the sky, in recognition of your arrival, traveler! I trust the calloused hands of the ferryman guided your journey here with grace, safe passage is of utmost importance.

Take a moment, now that you’ve arrived.. greet and converse with The Woody Dwarves, for THEY are preparing the feast, and will need to know any allergies or dietary restrictions....

Follow Vance’s steps... he’s the local Guru/Godfather of the best Mugo “approach” (because it differs from others in timing) that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing..

I love this place... like a freaky, communal bazaar of knowledge/experience... take when you need, or is offered... Give when you can, or is needed.

Pleasure to make your acquaintance.
I think it is time for some fresh air for you.
 

HorseloverFat

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I think it is time for some fresh air for you.
Ha! I recently read a couple of my older introductions.. and realized that they used to ALL be really long-winded and deliberate.. I wanted to resurrect some of this in THIS introduction.

....

Wow....


Maybe you’re right!

🤣🤣🤣
 

JackHammer

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First, welcome to the nut house
Second, please put your location on your profile so we don't have to ask you where you are and can give you appropriate advice.

Can you post a picture of the whole tree?

You are both too late and a tad early for repotting these. I've repotted Mugo pine in early spring as the buds just swell and after Father's day with success. My advice is to put the tree in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade for 2 to 3 weeks to let it start to recover from repotting. Fertilize in a few weeks once it starts to grow again. Leave it alone and do nothing but water and fertilize until fall. This fall you can wire the branches.

As for the roots, you can deal with those gradually over time and successive repottings. At each repot, assess the roots and remove one or two of the circling ones as long as there is enough other roots left to support the tree. This will take several years since you will only be repotting every 3 years or so.
Hey! I am learning things too. Wire the branches this fall. Got it. When should the first styling be? At the moment, I just have a shrub.
 

Paradox

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Hey! I am learning things too. Wire the branches this fall. Got it. When should the first styling be? At the moment, I just have a shrub.

Wiring the branches and putting some shape into them is the first start of styling. Total styling a.k.a development a thing that happens over time.

Yes it's a shrub right now. You just repotted it this year. There is a concept in bonsai of one major insult per year. Repotting is a major insult. You need to let it rest and recover now. Doing too much too soon can result in a dead tree.

In the fall you can wire the branches that you think you will keep as the final design. You can probably cut 2 or 3 you think you will won't keep later in the summer. Leave a 1 to 2 inch stub to prevent die back down the trunk. You'll remove those stubs in a year or two
 

JackHammer

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Wiring the branches and putting some shape into them is the first start of styling. Total styling a.k.a development a thing that happens over time.

Yes it's a shrub right now. You just repotted it this year. There is a concept in bonsai of one major insult per year. Repotting is a major insult. You need to let it rest and recover now. Doing too much too soon can result in a dead tree.

In the fall you can wire the branches that you think you will keep as the final design. You can probably cut 2 or 3 you think you will won't keep later in the summer. Leave a 1 to 2 inch stub to prevent die back down the trunk. You'll remove those stubs in a year or two
That is good advice. I am also reading up on the mugo threads...
So 1 insult a year- aren't plants supposed to be re-potted about every year?
I don't know if I would glorify my repotting as a formal insult, more like a snub. I just removed the cheap plastic pot and put it in a crock pot with a drainage hole.
 

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