UPDATE: This post didn’t make it clear at the time that these trees were handled contrary to norms in the interests of science. (Basically, I wanted photos of two years’ of root growth whilst demonstrating how tough these trees are with follow-up posts!) Deciduous trees are best replanted whilst dormant, and it is never a good idea to completely remove soil or potting medium from any species prior to planting or repotting elsewhere, and especially with older, established trees.
Even though I was fully aware of what I was doing, risks are always there, as this follow-up post shows!
Back here in 2019 I posted the following photo of a young Li from the previous year, dated 19th October 2018:
The photo below is not of this exact Li, and in fact dates to 23rd August, 2019, ten months later:
Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the 2018 Li bare-rooted (if only I knew I’d be writing this two years later…!), and nor do I have a photo of the 2019 Li growing (it had gone to a new home). But both were of similar age and size at the time of each photo, and the trunk lengths and size of the roots of each were quite comparable. Thus I have no qualms in regarding the 2019 tree as representative of the 2018 one back in 2018.
The 2018 tree didn’t do much growing above the soil during its first year, but during the 2019 season (its second year) it put on quite a growth spurt, as can be seen below. (Other photos and the explanation for this stop-start growth is here).
This September 2020 I went to repot this very 2018 tree in an Air-Pot container, and took the opportunity to photograph the roots whilst at it, to see how it had developed under the ground over the past two years. (The ruler is a fold-out one where each segment is 20 cm — total length shown here is 160 cm, of which about 35 cm is the roots’ depth):
Here is a close-up of the roots (the developing sucker at top right of the root system was removed prior to potting):
A lovely mass of more fibrous roots is quite evident! The tree probably could have stayed in the original pot another year, but I’ll get even more years’ use out of a same-sized Air-Pot®, where the tree can continue to develop an even more fibrous root system for maximum nutrient uptake.
Each tree is different. Here is the Li’s, um, graft-mate (?!), a Ta-Jan which had been potted and treated the same in every way — but half the size and with, what, four times? the root mass. Total length is about 85 cm with a root depth of about 30 cm:
Close-up of the roots:
Here’s another graft-mate, the same Lang as in the above-mentioned 2019 post. Total length about 150 cm with a root depth of about 30 cm:
And last but never least, a Chico which really went to town packing roots down below while not doing too much on top (I expect extension growth this year though). Total length about 120 cm and a root depth of about 80 cm:
And a close-up:
When washing the roots for the photo I noticed something where the red circle is:
It’s impossible to make out, so let’s zoom in closer:
It’s a little sucker developing!
Next week another photo blog, but about buds!
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