Observations on a repot

Yesterday I reported this larch (Larix laracina) I’d like to share some observations of things that came to mind during the repot that I think may be of help to others.

This tree was the centrepiece of a slab forest planing created only last year. It was the strongest tree. For reasons unknown some other the other smaller trees died during the year and then I was hit by ants (probably in response to root aphids feeding on the dead roots?). By late summer I managed to control the pests but it was no longer a first planting with a single tree standing among a devastated landscape (or actually it was a better representation of a modern forest). So it was clear I’d have to repot it this spring.

So yesterday was repot day for this fellow. I had a slender oblong pot in mind for this tree. I then carefully undid the forest from furthest away to the surviving tree, cut all tie downs under the slab, removed the dead root stumps, etc. When I was able to finally lift this tree from the slab I was surprised by how much the roots had grown. As I inspected the rootball I found two very significant roots on each side of the tree further away from the trunks than the slender oblong pot that I hoped to use. Out went that pot, in came a newer one, slightly less oblong, still oval as I wanted but with the radii of the two axis of the oval little more similar (if you remember your high school geometry, equal would give you a circle).
Observation 1: I think that the rubber band theory for pots also works for ovals in terms of playing with interchanging the dimensions of the two axes in addition to the height/length. This is more design than horticulture…
Observation 2: When I first created the forest I worked the roots of the trees and did some initial styling but I didn’t think “one day I may want to put this in a slender oval pot” so I didn’t work the root to the extent that they would never become a design impediment. Of course there will always be limits but I should have worked the roots a little more that first time around. Now these two significant roots on each side of the tree will probably prevent me from ever going for a slimmer pot in that direction. So I emphasize Ryan’s comment in the pomegranate stream that (in my own words) if you can but don’t work on the roots with as much as future considerations in mind as possible, you may not have another chance.

Take home message: Styling the roots needs a lot more thought than usually afforded.
Take home message: When repotting be prepared with more than one pot at hand in case you need to make functional choices over aesthetic ones.

This needs some wire still to fix the upward going branch in the daughter trunk and some smaller wires elsewhere to fix growth from next year but all in all, I find it graceful.

Awsome. Sorry about the forest. Im doing Japanese larch forests.

Early spring. Going on 10 years. 12"