Help, Wind Toppled Pine!

I purchased this very tall Afghan pine a few weeks ago. I asked Ryan in the Forum Q+A about the process and timing to reducing the tree. Based on his response, I planned to repot in the spring.

However, a relentless wind has prematurely taken this tree from its nursery pot—completely out. Ugh.

What should I do? It’s completely the wrong time of year to repot, yes? But surely sticking it back in that nursery container isn’t the right move. My inclination is to repot it and hope it makes it through the winter. Thoughts?

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Definitely get it back into a pot. Try not to disturb any roots and it should be okay.

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More specifically—should I secure it back in the nursery container with all that soil, or secure it into a more manageable grow box wrapped in pumice? The rootball (or what’s left of it) is completely out of the nursery container, so it’s a repot either way, no? Shouldn’t I just do a proper repot, as I had planned to do in the spring?

I wouldn’t recommend a full repot now. Just do the minimum amount to get it back into some soil and do not touch what’s left of the rootball.


Hi @bigorangedrink,
Based on the visible root mass that container looks awfully big. Additionally, that tree is looking pretty sparse and from what I can see may not be super vigorous.
I think you should find a heavy ceramic container (not a bonsai container) that will better fit the root ball, and then tie the tree in well. Put it someplace with some protection from the wind and find a way to tie off the trunk to something stable.
For your soil I would use an organic nursery mix and some pumice at maybe a 2:1 ratio. This tree will need some time to build vigor before any further work.



I would recommend a grow box just big enough to contain the in-tact rootball. Don’t mess with the rootball and try to keep it from falling apart. Fill the empty space in the grow box with pure pumice. You will be basically treating it as if it were a collected tree. Be sure to tie it in so it doesn’t move. Probably best to put a couple of uprights on the box and a cross piece to tie the trunk to since it’s quite tall. Ryan has illustrated that method a couple of times previously. Having done all that it might be best to treat it as a collected tree and not try to go back in and do a proper repot next spring. Give it at least a year, maybe two, in the grow box to stabilize. You’ll know more once you see how it does next year.


Thank you for the timely response to my fallen pine :slight_smile:

I had a grow box just right for (what’s left of) the root ball. Without further disturbing the roots I repotted this tree in pumice and tied the trunk to three anchor points—it’s quite stable now.

Any additional advice?



well done!!!
The think that the Afgan pine is a low water mobility pine and this is what makes it more drought tolerant for Texas. I don’t know if misting the foliage would help or hinder.

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good job on the recovery! I had my first bonsai blow off the bench last night, so I feel you.

I want to make sure that your new grow box has plenty of holes on the bottom for drainage :slight_smile:

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Yep, the box has a mesh bottom. :+1:t2:

Good job. That’s exactly what you needed to do.

It looks like you have the tree tied to your fence to stabilize it. That’s OK for now, but you really need to tie it to the grow box unless you never intend to move it for the next couple of years. I still recommend attaching a couple of uprights to the box with a cross-piece to tie the trunk to. I would make the uprights two or three feet tall.

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Good point, @Roger_Snipes —I will come up with something. You mentioned…

Any idea where? A stream or Q+A?

He has talked about that in Q&As before, and also during streams. There is a Tree Stabilization video in the library, but it’s not talking about the grow-box technique.

Basically you just take a couple of 1x2s or 1x4s or 2x2s that are around 3’ long and screw each one to opposite sides of your grow box so that they are vertically oriented. Position them so that you can then attach a cross piece to the upper ends that will end up right next to the trunk of the tree. Then you tie the tree to the cross piece to that it can’t move in any direction.

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Roger’s replay is good, but I might modify it a bit. Screw the 1x3s to 3 opposite sides of the box. Run a tie wire from the top of each 1x3 to the opposite side of the box so they are in tension to keep the 1x3s from flexing. Tie the tree to the top of the 1x3s. If there is any wiggle in the 1x3s you can also attach a triangle to the top of the 1x3s.

You need either 3 or 4 attachment points to keep the tree from wiggling. Two will prevent 1 direction, but not the other. If you were to use 2x4 on 2 sides than I would be comfortable with attaching the trunk to a single cross piece. This is a tall tree and it can get windy in Texas - I would make sure it is extremely well anchored and also give it a year to grow roots into the pumice.

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