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Repotting Notes From Boon's Visit


Repotting Notes From Boon's Visit

By Zack Clayton While giving us the lowdown on Black Pine, Boon also gave us a great crash course in repotting techniques during the demo. He shared his soil recipe with us (see the Black Pine article above). Almost everyone noticed that this recipe has no organics in it. The organics are supplied by the fertilizer cakes and supplemental liquid applications every other week. The horticultural charcoal in the mix provides support for the microrhyza fungi that are needed for good root health. To repot, first clip all the bottom wires and the screen holding wires. Clip them off at the drain or wire holes so the tree will just lift out of the pot with no wire drag. When you lift the tree, push under the first branch to lift the tree. This will prevent damage to the trunk bark. Judging from the comments in the room, this was a major “A Ha!” moment for most of us watching. Once the tree was out of the pot, he emphasized working on it from one side. By this I mean he did not rotate the root mass around as he cleaned out the soil. It stayed with one edge in contact with the table the whole time as Boon used a root hook, a pair of angled tweezers, root scissors, and a root cutter to clean up the bottom of the root ball. Boon recommends root work every time you repot the tree. To prepare the pot for the tree the procedure of wiring in the screens and tie down wires threaded into the wire holes went normally. Boon prefers to use a four wire tie-in that doesn’t touch the trunk. After the base layer of soil went into the pot and the tree positioned, the wires were tied to each other in a rectangle that held down the roots. Boon recommended tying the wire at the highest point of the rootball last. He does this by going in one direction (counterclockwise in this case) around the pot with each wire tied at the surface of the roots to the next wire. It’s much easier done than described. He tree is wired in so that the line of visible nebari is at the top level of the pot. He recommends against having the soil mounded up above the pot edge. After the soil was added around the edges and top of the root mass, Boon used a chop stick to work in the soil to the roots. Normal, except he stressed that a linear motion (like a sliding lever) did a better job of settling the soil than the commonly used circular motion. This prevents as many roots being worked to the surface, and also lets larger particles get to the bottom instead of smaller particles that would work down with the circular motion with the larger particles “floating” on the top. When the soil is worked in, he gently pounded each side of the pot with his fist to firm everything up. And then trimmed any fine roots that were sticking up above the soil. With the flat soil surface water will not run to the edge of the pot and the entire root mass will get water.