American Elm substrate and repot questions

Hi folks,

I have a large (~36 inch) American Elm yamadori that I pulled out of the ground six months ago. I live in Louisiana (on the edge of 8b/9a), so I have ~9 months of summer and no real winter.

The yamadori is currently in 100% pumice in a large plastic storage container. It came out of the ground with a lot of hard clay field soil still on its root ball.

My questions:

  1. When I repot into a smaller grow container, what soil mix should I use? 1:1:1 lava/pumice/akadama?

  2. How long should I leave it in the current recovery container? Repot now? Repot this coming spring? Wait another full year?


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With deciduous trees Ryan usually suggests using straight akadama.

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I know it, but it’s also really very large, and I’m wondering whether anyone feels like that justifies a swap to 1:1:1.

I would think that the 1:1:1 would probably be too dry and you will end up watering 3-4 times per day. I would probably go straight Akadama or anything that is at least 50% Akadama or greater. Deciduous trees like water and more akadama would mean you could water 1-2 times a day instead of 3 or even 4 times depending on the size of the container. I would also wait until the spring to do the repot, summer repots are stressful to the trees and jeopardize its health. You may lose the tree and you may not, but why risk doing that. I would leave it be and wait till Spring. Just my two cents.