The Content Of The Article:

Trees and shrubs can grow in pots as long as they are repotted regularly. A little method and patience allow to carry out this operation to good.

Text and photos Philippe Bonduel

Practical advice

• Do not neglect drainage, even in a porous terracotta pot: the soil is much more soiled than in the ground. Choose soft and ventilated substrates and always plan a draining layer at the bottom of the container (gravel, etc.).
• In wooden bins, the roots tend to seep into the walls, making it impossible to unload. It is at the time of planting that you can act: prefer a model with removable walls or double inside the box with bubble plastic (or equivalent) before filling it with soil.

You have repelled several times the potting of the tree that adorns your terrace or that you store in a corner of the garden. It is time to act because obvious signs of exhaustion must alert you to: sickly shoots, rare leaves, absent flowers...

"Surfacing", which consists of scraping and removing the surface layer of soil to replace it with a rich mixture, makes it possible to reverse the repotting of two or three years. Beyond that, it is necessary to completely renew the earth.

Successfully unloading

The most delicate phase is the removal. Over time, the roots have formed a dense tissue that blocks the plant in the pot. As the container is usually a noble material (such as terracotta), the first step is to remove the root ball without damaging the pot.

To save the plant, two precautions are essential: the first is to leave it dry for as long as possible, at the limit of thirst, for the root ball to retract. The second arrangement is to lay the pot on a good mat of newspapers or rags in order to dampen as much shock as possible during handling.

The choice of a clear place to work at ease is recommended (garden, garage, etc.): you will strongly limit the risk of breaking branches. A large canvas extended on the cushioning mattress will allow you to easily recover the falls (earth, roots, twigs) and therefore to work properly.

Reuse the same pot

With plants of a certain size, it is not necessary to change pots with each operation. They may very well be reinstalled several times in the same container, provided that a maximum of waste soil is removed and the volume of roots is reduced.

Like the tools, the pot will have to be cleaned before adding new potting soil to limit the risk of contamination.

The new substrate must be quite nutritious and rich in humus to regulate the moisture and aeration of the roots. Avoid adding fertilizer until the visible growth of vegetation. Before this phase, the plant is in shock and unable to assimilate this whiplash.

Once the repotting is done, the plant will have to be watered very copiously every day: the earth will settle little by little and the possible voids will be filled.

Detach the roots

Detach the roots

Slip a soft blade (old knife, metal ruler...) along the clod to loosen the roots. Never use rigid tools, they will break the walls.

Remove soil and surface roots

Remove soil and surface roots

Remove as much claw from the claw as the roots of the surface. Emphasize the edges to facilitate the back and forth movements of the next step.

Take off the root ball

Take off the root ball

Lay the plant down and use the base of the trunk as a lever to loosen the root ball by jerks. Help can be welcome to hold the pot.

Eliminate the ends

Eliminate the ends

On the bottom, cut with a handsaw a slab of old roots to eliminate the ends. Do not remove more than one fifth of the total height of the root ball.

Scrape the edges

Scrape the edges

Complete the cleansing with severe scraping of the edges of your root "cake". The operation will give space to the new substrate and promote the appearance of rootlets.

prune

prune

Finish by the size (optional) of the average roots. When in doubt, cut sparingly, the volume of roots should not be too much less than that of the antler.

Fold down the carpenter's branches

Fold down the carpenter's branches

Fold down the carpenter branches on a fork and prune the tips of the terminal shoots. The sap will benefit all the better to the roots in formation.

Repot and water

Repot and water

Spread drainage and new substrate at the bottom of the pot. Place the plant and fill with the potting soil, which you will infiltrate between the roots with a stick. Finish with a watering.


Video Instruction: Re-potting a Standard Bay Tree + live out-take