Greetings. I have a dwarf laceleaf japanese maple I plan to to collect once buds start to push this coming spring. It was planted in my childhood home 25 years ago. The tree was somewhere between 10 and 15 years old when it was planted. Miraculously it survived a fire that consumed the property and house standing only 15 feet away. This is an important tree in many ways and I wish to take every precaution to collect it safely and have it back in my care. Its in the ground at 9b, 5 hours away from its soon to be home also in 9b. My current plan is to collect, transport, and build a box for it using 100% pumice as the substrate and repot into a bonsai container in 2 years. I have a few concerns but am grateful for any additional wisdom given.
Is collecting during the first push of growth optimal considering it will be relocated in a different area? Though it will still be in 9b the humidity is significantly(a few hundred yards from the ocean).
How much root pruning should I be doing? Only enough to collect and fit in a box so that it can recover its strength or should use its current strength to do a significant amount of root pruning and go straight into a bonsai container?
Is pumice the right choice? What particle size?
Ps. Going back in the ground once collected isn’t an option.
If you have the time check out Ryans “Urban Yamadori” stream. It answered a lot of my questions which were similar to yours. Other than that i cant offer much advice, im still fresh to the hobby.
If the tree is that important then your going to want to take as much root as possible. So in this case I would start the dig at or just outside the drip line. Then once I had the whole tree extracted I would assess the amount of roots you got and go from there. With a maple in this situation air on the side of caution because you can always come back in when it’s recovered and drastically reduce the roots. But if it doesn’t survive then that’s obviously not an option.
As for the when I would try to dig it. I would go with the same signs (Bud swell) to report it. Once you see the buds swollen to the max I would go for it then.
Definitely watch the urban yamadori Livestream and the yamadori recovery with Randy Knight. The post collection care will be as essential as the extraction.
Pumice is the right choice but remember this is the highest water mobility tree we work with.
As for particle size without seeing the tree I would go 1/4 down and just sift out the fines but leave in everything down to 1/16 to increase the water holding capacity some while getting all the O2 benefits of the pumice…(I am not sure this part of the information is accurate but someone we who has more experience can correct if this particle size part is misguided )
I wouldn’t wash the roots and I would work really hard to leave some part of the roots untouched