Hyperion farm, soil hard as a rock?

My Itoigawa Shimpaku Juniper from Hyperion farm has lot of roots! But the soil is hard as a rock.
Is this normal for field grown junipers from Oregon? I broke several chop sticks trying to penetrate the soil, and my sharpened putty knife would not cut off the bottom of the soil column. In trying to drive sharp bamboo to allow better drainage, the bamboo would become imbedded in the clay and splinter. Using sharp blades I was able to reduce the column and free up roots on the bottom and sides, but wonder if I should have done more to loosen the soil. Pictures follow.


I took cuttings from the plant to use in future grafting projects. I will be cleaning out the foliage in time, but wanted to leave as much as possible to grow more refined roots.

This is the results of my repot.

I have the tree in a protected area with bottom heat, and afternoon sun with temps in the 50-60’s F. I want to know what I could do in the future for a better process!! The initial watering was with a transplant fertilizer.

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I haven’t heard of Hyperion Farms, did you mean Telperion Farms?
As far as the clay, in time you will remove all of it with repots.
What are your night temps?
The reason I ask is the heat mat is only effective when temps are 32-34 and lower. Ryan talks about the physiology of this method :+1:t2:

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looking at the picture, I am not too sure you are having hard soil but one solid root mass. One thing which helps with garden plants to"loosen" the soil is to get it really wet.

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Yes, Telperion farms… duh… I am getting more forgetful by the moment… I think. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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It was soil and roots. After cutting off the bottom with a saw, I soaked the mass in my pond and that helped, but still very hard to get roots free from the clay. Thank you for your response.

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Night time temps are in the mid 30’s. I have used the bottom heat to jumpstart cuttings in the past with good success. I think that bottom heat cannot hurt the production of roots, and believe this was not a normal repot. https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/cuttings.htm
Thank you for your reply and input. :thinking:

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I moved the heat mat back to the cuttings. I am hoping for the best.

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Not sure there could hav been done anything different. I think the main issue was that the thing was completely rootbound. In your first picture I can see nothing but very thick roots all around. My take is the re-pot / moving to another container was waaaaaay late.

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