Can I repot this crabapple now?

Live in northern Vermont. This crabapple is root bound and requires watering twice a day. I also mist the leaves on hot, sunny days.

Really could do with a repot and fresh soil. Can I do so this time of year (on a cool morning) without creating a problem? Information I’ve found on the internet - care sheets at well known bonsai sites - is mixed. If so, can I trim the roots?

Your best outcome will be if you slip pot into a larger pot or put in the ground with a landscape fabric lined hole to control the root growth. Trimming the roots during the warmer times of the year is not good for the tree when it is trying to hydrate.

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Make sure to loosen the edges of the soil if you slip pot so there is not a distinct boundry between the current compact soil and looser new soil. Water will flow through the new soil and not wet the old if there is a distinct boundary.

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Thank you both. Was thinking of the slip pot approach. And yes, I will loosen the edges of the rootball (bottom and sides).

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I would not recommend repotting at this time of year. Nor would I slip-pot into a larger pot. I think your best course of action would be to raise the sides of the pot with a tape wall so that you can get a larger amount of water on the tree to soak in to the soil. Give it some extra TLC for the rest of the year and do a proper repot next spring. It doesn’t appear to be suffering currently, so I think it will be fine.


I agree with Roger’s thoughts.

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Slip potting usually causes more problems than it solves. Ryan is adamantly opposed to it and I agree. There are better methods (such as the duct tape wall) to keep things going until repotting season.

Well, I’m back on the fence again. Now leaning NOT to do the slip pot. I am well aware of the risk of doing any type of repot during summer. Have already lost a wonderful pomegranate having performed a repot late June at the direction of a world renowned bonsai expert who gave me bad advice. Don’t want to repeat that result. “Once bitten, twice shy”.

Feeling the conservative approach makes the most sense. I’m retired, so I can do a 2nd daily watering on hot days if/when it’s warranted. Will place the tree in an area of filtered Iight where it can avoid the intense summer sun. Will pull the tree from the greenhouse when the buds swell next Spring, trim the rootball as needed and do the repot then.

Thank you one and all for your thoughtful responses.