Root bound nursery stock shimpaku

Hey guys,

So I recently got a few 3 gallon nursery stock kishu’s and they weren’t looking to great.
The plants had a yellowish coloration to most of the foliage, and a lot of the lower twigs were really shedding away quite a bit. I thought at first
Maybe it was mites causing the damage. Did the paper test and didn’t find anything. I thought maybe fungal, because of the die back that was happening, and still not sure in that one.

Lastly I thought, well , if it’s all over the tree maybe it a root issue?? I pulled one from its container earlier this afternoon …. It was stuck in there real good! The things are completely packed!! I dont even think I can see soil !!

It’s July , and I know you should never try to reduce the root system right now. So my question is, do I just wait and let the trees ride it out until next spring and repot then? Or could I tease out the roots without cutting them and just slip pot into a larger Container?

I’ll take a few pictures tomorrow in the morning so you can see what I’m talking about . A little too late tonight, but I just wanted to put it out there.

Thanks , and look forward to hearing your advice!!

Take care!

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You may just need to thoroughly wet the roots. If it is that root bound the water may just be flowing around the outside and the rest of if may be very dry. I would try soaking one for a couple of hours and see if it picks up a bunch of weight. I would probably weigh it before and after, but I have a range of scales and tend to like to detail any experiments.

I have put similar pines in the ground after wetting the root ball to keep them over the fall and winter before a spring repot. The advantage of the ground over larger pot is that it is a large reservoir of moisture if properly watered which will help keep the roots moist.


That’s actually a really smart idea. Thank you, I’ll give that a try tomorrow. I could just use my body scale, measure myself then check the weight again holding the tree.

As for soaking it, do you just mean like, bottom watering it? Or, submerging it to the soil line in a large container?

Thank you for you feed back. I appreciate you!

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I would submerge to above the soil line in a large container. The goal is to insure the root ball is completely saturated. You can also weigh it after it drains for a few hours.


Thank you for the clarification! I’ll give this a shot in the morning.

Thank you again!

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I think Marty is giving you good advice. I don’t know how much you invested or how attached you are to the trees. I have always repotted nursery stock junipers in the summer without issue. But I wouldn’t risk it with something to expensive or dear to me. Also I wouldn’t do it with a tree that was anything less than vigorous and healthy it sounds like yours may not be.

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So update :

The tress were about 90 dollars Canadian each,
Not super expensive but also not super cheap.
I got them primarily to get some air layering‘s off of and try attempting to approach graft ( god help me ) onto other field grown
Squamata’s I have.

I drenched three of them in a bucket for about 2.5 hours and afterwards weighed a lot more unsurprisingly. So hopefully soaking the root ball will help rehydrating the plant.

I had 4, so I opted to try and experiment with one and re-potted into 1 1 1 Akadama pumice lava freeing up the roots. I soaked the roots in a bath of superthrive , and soaked the new soil in after potting. It’s being Triaged (pun intended) in my garage for protection, and I open the door in the morning around 7am just to get some sun into it at the least Intensity. I’ve been spray misting it’s foliage at least 6 times throughout the day.

We’ll see where it leads soon enough I guess!

Here are a few pictures :


So if you question their health maybe you should wait to do air layers. Looks like you have an air layer on several. Hope they are alive and doing well!


Curious about what happened with these…any update?