Repot or wait? (Chinese Elm)

Just got a small Chinese Elm as a gift. The little guy is covered in new growth and is rocking out as if it was April. Thing is, it’s potted in nothing but coconut fiber. I would like to get it out of the fiber and into some better soil, since I know that my summer heat will cook the roots in the fiber.

Since it’s already growing out, should I risk it and wait until next year, or repot but don’t bare root?

Hi @el_cheezer
Another option instead of reporting could be to pot on.
Find a bigger pot, and just fill the gap with good soil, keeping root disturbances to a minimum. This should allow the tree to gain vigor this season, then go for the repot next year at the right time.
Having said that, Chinese Elm can be thugs, and you may get away with a repot now if the tree is strong, and if you can provide after care.


I was actually considering that, but I want sure how big to up pot. The tree is in a fairly shallow pot right now. I’d thinking of going a little wider and a few inches deeper, if only to help the water drain from the fiber better.

An adequate size to be able to maintain the balance between water and oxygen :+1:

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Here’s the little guy. I was looking at it carefully, and I didn’t even see wires underneath. I don’t think it’s even tied down in the pot. Definitely going to up pot into something bigger.

I don’t know what the health of the tree is, though it looks to be doing ok. Is rather keep it going strong now, and repot next year. Any other ideas are appreciated.

So when I went to put this little guy in a bigger pot, and pulled it out of the current pot, the root ball exploded. Turns out that the tree wasn’t wired in. It was put into the pot and then stuffed with so much cocunut fiber, the the pressure of the fiber was holding the tree in. Think of a gag can of snakes.

Not much in the way of fine roots, and the current base isn’t the real base, which seems to be much lower on the trunk. I’ll have to definitely come back to this one in a more appropriate time to find the true base and to work on some thick roots coming out of the sides.

Kept as much of the root ball intact and put it into a slightly bigger pot. Tree is doing well for now.

The joy of repotting!
Except the unexpected and try to be prepared for all eventualities.

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@AndyK Because I’ve had issues when repotting before, I made sure I had all the tools and everything else I needed on the work table. I’ve learned to plan ahead and be prepared, just in case it hits the fan, which it usually does.

Besides the surprise and sudden concern for the tree, everything else went smooth. It’s even kept throwing out new growth, so the little guy isn’t skipping a beat!

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I’m going to necromance the thread and provide a quick update. The little elm is doing well. It’s getting a little burnt with the Arizona heat right now, but it’s only the older foliage that is suffering. All of the newer growth is doing fine.

It did have some aphids earlier this year, which were quickly taken care of. Since then, it’s been growing steadily.

The current plan is to feed heavily in the autumn, to prep the tree for some work next spring. Depending on how it handles the summer and autumn, I may repot again next year, or wait another year to help it gather more strength.

There aren’t any elms in this area, so I’m going to err on the side of caution with this little guy, at least for now.

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repotting way risky, but transpotting could be try but do not use choptick and put him under a shade cloth

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There’s still a lot of the coconut fiber in there, so if like to begin to remove it, but I won’t repot until spring, and only if the tree is healthy enough.

I don’t have shade cloth, but he was moved about a month ago to a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight past the very early morning. The evening temps start dropping off in September, so I don’t have much more to go with this heat.