What would yew do in a situation like this?

G-Hoppa

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Hi there-- I just picked up a large (4-5 foot) Taxus hicksii with a decent trunk (maybe 2 1/2" dia.) for a great price. But it's been sitting in the same 5-gal pot for a couple years at the nursery and it's yellowing badly. Nothing wilted or dead yet, just murky yellow-green all over. I figure it's rootbound and/or soggy, and it seems like a borderline emergency. It's pretty late in the year for root work, even in my wet mild winter zone 8a. Average first frost is only a week away, though we're still in the low 40s now at night.
So do I:
  1. leave it rootbound in its pot, keep it out of the rain to dry out some and cross my fingers it lives till spring?
  2. bare root and repot in proper soil (as minimal root pruning as possible) and hope it recovers from the transition before temps get too cold?
  3. HBR it into proper soil?
  4. plant it in the ground, leaving the root ball more or less as is? (I'd pull it back out and put it in a training pot come spring)
  5. something I haven't thought of?
Whatever I do, I figure I won't plan to do any top work until next fall, assuming it regains health.
 
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hmmmm depending on what soil its in will tell if its getting soggy but it sounds like maybe slip potting it might be the best option but i dont think a full bare root would be best this late. got any pics?
 

G-Hoppa

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Taxus 10.20.16 - 2.JPG Taxus 10.20.16.JPG Just popped it out of the nursery pot. It's all roots. I don't see combing this tangle out without damaging the newer growth. Fine in the spring, probably, but I'm leery of prompting new root growth now.
 

Dav4

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Nah, that's really not that root bound, and I suspect the yellowing of the foliage is being caused by something else. Leave it in it's current pot and don't do anything to the roots this year other then water appropriately.
 

G-Hoppa

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Hard to see in even the closeup, but everything visible that isn't white roots is dead brown roots - not older & lignified but dead, as far as I can tell.
Dav4 - would it hurt to slip pot it as Osoyoung suggests, even if it isn't a rootbound issue?
The only other possible causes I've been able to find are soggy soil, iron deficiency, and pH problems.
 

G-Hoppa

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Okay - based on all this advice I'll slip pot and watch the watering, and not touch the roots till spring. And I'll apply chelated iron as well, in case that's the culprit.
Thanks, all
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

I wouldn't slip pot it...
Unless you already did...
In which case....
I hope you teased the root tips out a bit...
But just saying it sounds like too much right now.

Good news....

Looks like the brown is in all the right places!
The usable sections look quite healthy.

Seems to have gotten over whatever the problem was.

Nice.

Sorce
 

aml1014

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Looks like it's been underwatered causing lots of roots to die, then it was over watered for a period causing all the dead roots to rot.
I'd leave it be till next spring personally and just be careful watering for now.

Aaron
 

GGB

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There are tons of fresh feeder roots on that guy, I agree, it's probably over coming whatever happened to it
 

G-Hoppa

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Well that gives me hope!
I bought it as a gamble for pretty cheap, Mike. Worth learning on if nothing else at my stage of bonsai education. If it lives it'll be a lot of fun.
 

M. Frary

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Well that gives me hope!
I bought it as a gamble for pretty cheap, Mike. Worth learning on if nothing else at my stage of bonsai education. If it lives it'll be a lot of fun.
But if it dies it won't be no fun at all.
It's fall and there are sales on lots of stuff.
Why buy a tree you have to nurse back to health?
I learned early on to only buy healthy trees from nurseries.
You never know what could be wrong and be bringing a potential Trojan Horse into your collection. It may be just a lack of water or it could be something worse. Like a weird fungus or bug.
 

G-Hoppa

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Hadn't thought about contamination! Into quarantine it goes while I scheme about it's future with fingers crossed.
Back when I was trying to quit smoking cold turkey, I'd find myself walking out of the store opening a pack with no clear memory of deciding to buy it. It's like that these days - suddenly I'm at a nursery and the fever has taken hold and I'm buying another tree with a cool trunk just cause it's discounted and I can afford it.
I expected learning the horticulture and design of bonsai to be a many years-long process, but I guess my first challenge will be finding the strength to walk away from a nursery empty handed!
 

BobbyLane

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Hi there-- I just picked up a large (4-5 foot) Taxus hicksii with a decent trunk (maybe 2 1/2" dia.) for a great price. But it's been sitting in the same 5-gal pot for a couple years at the nursery and it's yellowing badly. Nothing wilted or dead yet, just murky yellow-green all over. I figure it's rootbound and/or soggy, and it seems like a borderline emergency. It's pretty late in the year for root work, even in my wet mild winter zone 8a. Average first frost is only a week away, though we're still in the low 40s now at night.
So do I:
  1. leave it rootbound in its pot, keep it out of the rain to dry out some and cross my fingers it lives till spring?
  2. bare root and repot in proper soil (as minimal root pruning as possible) and hope it recovers from the transition before temps get too cold?
  3. HBR it into proper soil?
  4. plant it in the ground, leaving the root ball more or less as is? (I'd pull it back out and put it in a training pot come spring)
  5. something I haven't thought of?
Whatever I do, I figure I won't plan to do any top work until next fall, assuming it regains health.
I picked up one from a garden centre last year that also had some yellowing foliage, i also discovered a lone vine weevil under the surface, treated the tub with a solution of vine weevil killer and gave it the odd watering of fish n sea weed, tomato/organic slow release fert in summer..but for the most part it was kept out of rain and just watered once in a while, letting the weeds on the surface tell me when it needed a little drink. i would leave yours as is, you seem to have a lot of healthy roots, they like to be kept dry in winter or when dormant, but watered well in summer. they also respond well to misting the foliage with sea weed. it may sulk for a while if you disturb it now.

can see mine here
http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/split-trunk-taxus-baccata.21423/

stays under cover on my front balcony in deep shade, stayed there all summer with minimal watering as its in muggy soil and takes ages to dry out, more so in deep shade, it grew well and in spring ill repot it, replace with more suitable substrate and bring it out on to my back balcony where it will get more sun light.

"Very tough, cold hardy and drought tolerant.
Taxus appreciates well drained soil and copious watering in summer along with regular fertilizing. When dormant taxus should be kept dry.
Only re-pot when absolutely necessary and never until the buds begin to unfurl in spring. Pinching spring growth quickly encourages dense foliage and fine twigging to form." - Graham potter
 
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G-Hoppa

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Thanks for the tips. I really like your split trunk -- looking forward to seeing pics of it in a few years as it grows to look even more like those ancient ones.
 
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