Assessing urgency of repotting rootbound tree

I am trying to determine how to determine the repotting urgency of a tree that is rootbound in its nursery container. How long can a tree remain healthy in a rootbound state? The tree in question is a Trident Maple in a 5G nursery container. Roots are visible on both the top layer of soil as well as emerging from drainage holes. Tree soaks up water in a matter of hours in ~70F weather while most of my other trees need water every 1-2 days. Is it too long to wait till next spring to repot?

I would probably wait to repot since it is mostly likely going to get hotter. You can give it some shade if it is drying out too soon. I have potted up fully leafed out trident maple seedlings with some root pruning when I got an order very late, but with the amount of root work needed on a tree like you describe I would wait.


Yeah that is what I am thinking. It seems to be pretty healthy currently so just getting through to spring seems feasible. Sounds like repotting decidious in fall is not advised.

“rootbound” is not a bad thing necessarily. It sounds like you have a very healthy tree that will be perfectly fine until next spring.


If it’s healthy, wait 'till spring.

1 Like