Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera'

Looking for some feedback I had an root bound throw away nursery stock (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera’ ) that I was given and I wasn’t planning on making bonsai (we always say that). But based on a lifetime of sloppy up potting I figured I should fix the large circling roots before putting it in the landscape. 7 hours later I found out the whole thing was large structural roots circling the whole way down. I’ve reported a decent amount of pain in the ass nursery stock but this was on another level for me. Kept questioning going and tossing it in the yard, while saying “kill it or make it a bonsai” but secretly saying " but let’s not kill it, it’s getting interesting"!. Anyways I had to over shot the nebari because of the way the structural roots were all laced through, I was hoping to get another 3-4inches off the bottom but you can see by the brown mark on the trunk how high it was buried. I’m hoping in 2-3 years to get enough fine roots at the surface to be able to come back reduce enough to get it into a Bonsai pot.

This as the first tree in a my last 15 repots I questioned if this tree will make it . I am not that experienced that’s probably out of 50 repots

Couple questions
Did I do the right thing or should I have went for the other 3-4 inches I was hoping for this time?

If not what should I have done in this situation so I can learn for next time.

At the BSOP Farm to Table event a couple of years ago Tom Fincel (spelling) presented an interesting technique for similar trees. He cleans down the upper roots and then clears out the soil from the top third to half of the root ball while leaving all of the soil in the bottom portion. This often results in some damage to the upper roots due to the poking and prodding that is needed. He then fills the upper section with good bonsai soil and pots in a slightly wider pot than the original root ball. After about two years there are lots of new roots in the upper section and he cuts off the old roots and soil in the lower section that sustained the tree during the transition.

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Conifers can be a little sensitive in regards to removing all the soil.

When I do aggressive repot, I sometimes use part of the old soil, thinking that it may have a preestablished collection of symbiotic microorganisms. This is probably a pretty good place to stop in regards to route removal.

See how it does and if it thrives then you can, be more aggressive next year. Hope for some back budding and consider removing taking off some of the foliage to put less stress on the roots.

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