Rootbound Coast Redwood

Hi All,

I just picked up this Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens"Soquel") from the local nursery. I knew it was pretty rootbound before I got it, but had no idea the extent of it until I got it home. To start, there was virtually no soil left. It was a solid block of roots, with many being dead. Second, the base had literally grown right around the bamboo pole that once held it up straight when it was clearly much smaller. I actually think down the road, with a light bit of carving, this could provide an interesting feature.

In order to perform a repot, I felt there was no choice but to use a saw and cut the bottom half of the root ball off. They were mostly dead anyways. I’ve heard Ryan say these can take some pretty extreme root pruning, so I felt pretty confident in this move. I combed out and cut roots that were circling the base, but I left what was left largely untouched. I’m thinking it’s going to be a multi year process over time to work the roots out of the mess.

I do have a couple questions. First, should I cut back any foliage to compensate for the root prune or just let it go to recover? Second, has anybody else ever had a root bound nursery tree this bad? And if so how did you deal with the block of roots?

Thank you!

I don’t have any experience with nursery stock that is that root bound but I do have experience with redwoods. I would let the tree be and see how it responds after the repot, I’m sure it will be just fine as redwoods are very strong.

Alex, you don’t need to touch the foliage as it will help it recover. You’ll find that this is pretty standard for a coastal redwood that is left to grow on without work done to it. I’ve recently repotted 4 of them and all were hard work. Each took around three hours to comb out the roots.

Great, thank you. It still took me all of 3 hours as well, even with the handsaw to reduce. It was all of 2 hours just to get down the 1.5-2" to reveal the base… I could certainly feel it in the arm and shoulder the next day! It’s looking happy as can be as of today, and the new growth tips are elongating nice and strong.

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@Alex_B How did this Coast Redwood fare this summer?