Rookie yamadori mistake

I collected this maple from my parents backyard which my dad has been unknowingly shaping for several years. I think it has some really great potential and I collected a good sized root ball. The tree was collected Feb 22.

Now for the problem. I may have hastily collected jt before being ready for proper care. I placed it into this pot with sphagnum moss as the only soil component. Turns out, the sphagnum I used is terrible quality with lots of hard stem-like bits in it and it doesn’t hold water nearly as well.

I just picked up some nice pumice from a local mine and have it sifted to 1/8 - 1/4. Also have a pond box which is just the right size for the tree.

Now knowing that pumice is by far the better soil for collected material, should I repot the tree into the new pond box with the new pumice soil? Or should I just leave it be?

Thanks in advance!

I imagine pure sphagnum moss would stay too wet, especially in the lower region of the pot. For that reason, I would try to get into the pumice soon. If you don’t do any additional root pruning, it should be fine. The concern would be disturbing any new roots that have formed since collection, but without foliage that should be minimal. To be sure, I would just retain the moss that is around the primary root ball and slip it into the pumice. I think the better oxygen balance is worth the relatively low risk. Good luck!

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It will be safe to change the substrate as long as it isn’t handled roughly because it has not leafed out. From the photos it seems like the buds are just swelling.

If it has leafed out then, you run the risk of having a negative outcome if you disturb the roots.

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Agree. As long as it’s a straight swap out, you should be fine. Maples are tough, and it’s still dormant - giving it a better substrate to wake up in is the smart move.

Not necessary for this, but I’ve heard Ryan recently start recommending adding an organic, like pine bark, in with the pumice for decidious. I just did this for the first time on a yard-adori maple I just collected. But pure pumic has always worked perfectly well for me in the past.

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I agree with the pumice, but not the pond box. That’s assuming what you call a pond box is what I call a pond basket. Basically a square colander. I’m actually going to be moving all of my trees out of pond baskets this year. My main issue is that they’re a pain to water and hard to keep hydrated once you’ve watered them. Pain in that the water will take the path of least resistance and run off the sides of the basket. If it was my tree I’d be building a box for it.

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They are very keen on sphagnum and the black bag trick in the UK.
Tony Tickle has two videos

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Thanks for all the advice everybody! I ended up replacing the soil with my new pumice. The repot went very well.

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Thanks for the great videos.

I still hold that digging a stump out of a yard is not the same as collecting material from the mountains. In the yard scenario you have a tree that has had plenty of access to resources and should be quite vigorous. In the mountain scenario you have a tree that has been deprived of resources and is naturally stunted due to that.

Not saying that you shouldn’t treat yard material with care, but I don’t think it requires near the ‘kid gloves’ approach that true yamadori would. I’ve had great success with deciduous going into a box with a 50/50 bark pumice mix. Of course, that’s GA climate. Your mileage may vary.

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