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Thread: Any tips for cutting back roots on a root-bound nursery stock conifer...

  1. #1
    Bonsai Apprentice Ttonka is on a distinguished road
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    Oct 2010
    Lehi, UT

    Any tips for cutting back roots on a root-bound nursery stock conifer...

    This was a nursery stock plant that is as close to completely root bound as I think I have ever seen. The pot has very little soil in it. I want to get this eventually into a bonsai pot. Suggestions on when and how much to cut back on roots? Any other tips are appreciated. I have read a quite a bit on the internet and seen some differing suggestions. As of now, I'm planning to time it for right before the plant is emerging in the spring...while it's in the budding stage.

    Also, I am trying to root the biggest pieces I cut. I put some rooting hormone dust on it and placed it in a porous soil I am watering frequently. Is this correct?

    If needed, I can look up the scientific name when I get home--unless someone knows it off the top of their head.
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  2. #2
    Bonsai Apprentice ERdept is on a distinguished road
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    Aug 2010
    LA, California
    for my first cutting, i take it easy. I think the rule is not more than a 1/3 for most plants, but i remember reading not more than 25% for conifers. First thing i do is take out the tap root. Bonsai don't need the heavy structural roots. They need, and you need to develop the finer feeder roots.

    After you cut, don't fertilize for a few weeks and keep it in the shade.

  3. #3
    Bonsai Expert mKlRivPwner is on a distinguished road mKlRivPwner's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    York Haven, PA
    As for how to handle the bound roots? Most of the overgrown roots will be at or near the outer edge. Something I do with shrubs is turn the plant upside down and cut about a third of the way into it in four sections (like slicing a cake). This should leave most of the feeder roots on the outer edges in tact while allowing you to peel these sections apart. Works on Azalea.

    If you are still concerned, plant the tree in the ground and let it grow for a year. Dig your hole 50% deeper and twice as wide as the root ball. Fill in about 3-4 inches with corse sand, or some other fast draining medium (like Bonsai soil). Tamp it lightly then use a little bit more to build a small mound in the center of the hole. Center the root ball over the mound, and fill in around with the same fast-draining medium.

    ER is right. No more than a quarter in any year.
    "... And I shall call you pwner.... you may now go about your pwn'ing"
    - Slim Genre

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