Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Repotting Lonicera

Lonicera (honeysuckle, unknown species)

This Lonicera was obtained in fall 2006 during a dig with my local bonsai club in a forest that had been zoned for clearing near a cemetery. I liked the bark on this plant, but never saw one with such a heavy-looking trunk that made it worth digging up.

March 8, 2009: Dug up the Lonicera that had been growing in my Limerick Community Garden plot. The forecast said rain today and off and on for most of the rest of the week. I decided to go dig the tree up now because I’ve heard that repotting when a tree has already been watered is not desirable. I still haven’t learned exactly why. Perhaps it is more stressful for the tree because so much water is lost in root and branch pruning.

This tree’s root ball was incredibly heavy! It hadn’t grown very deeply into the ground, but had many fine hairs and they held a lot of dirt. I set it into the back seat of the car and drove it home. It sat with it’s root ball exposed for about 25 minutes while I prepared to pot it up.

I spent a long time just spraying the root ball with a steady stream of water to loosen up and remove the mud as best I could. The roots were mostly flowing out laterally, but some were very thick and needed to be cut back fairly hard for the tree to fit into the large wooden box I’d prepared (approximately 16" wide and 8" deep).

The top was cut back to about 2-2.5 feet (61-76 cm) tall. The trunk is approximately 3 inches wide, with one obvious main trunk going straight up. The other trunks are of various smaller sizes, some seeming to graft onto the larger trunk.

I used Turface as soil and nothing else. The particles were small--those falling through the small sifter (the size of typical window screening).

It took extra effort to be sure the soil was getting in between and underneath some root systems in the tree.

One worry is that because the branches are hollow, those I trimmed might allow water to enter them and rot the branches out. However, many of the current branches might not be wanted anyway, in the long run.

I just love to study this trunk. The rough yellowish bark is so warm, yet tough. It has a nice twisted look, too. I would like if I could learn more about hollowing out sections of a trunk to enhance it's appearance.

No comments:

Post a Comment