Collected Rocky Mountain Junipers repotting

Longtime followers of the blog may remember the post from May 2013, showing our potting method with some newly-collected rmj…which was basically stuffing them B&B into wooden boxes, and packing aggregate around the burlap. Here is the post:
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/south-dakota-collecting-trip-day-4/
Nearly 2 years later, I felt like Geraldo opening Al Capone’s vault…only I found something…lots of something…ROOTS! The plan actually worked. You know the saying about collected trees: the first year they sleep, second year they creep, and the third year they leap. Here it is after the second year. I expect 2015 to be a “leap” year!

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The burlap was gone; the duct tape remained, and the roots had started to colonize the aggregate packed in between the wooden box and the burlap:

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The field soil came away beautifully, and healthy roots are throughout.

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Encouraged by the roots of the small one, I decided to repot the one with the best foliage. The roots were even better in this one, and it was in fact, growing over a flat rock, which I found as I was combing out the old soil:

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A small amount of burlap remained under some of the duct tape, but combed away very easily:

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Good roots grew out from the burlap, all around the duct tape:

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And the flat rock, conveniently located directly under the base:

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Once removed, and the tree was settled into a bonsai pot, it appeared to have always been in one:

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Good soil worked in around the roots, and the tree should be good to go for a few years!

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In conclusion, the method was successful. I believe 13 of 14 rmj collected this way survived. Next time, I’ll find something other than duct tape to bind the burlap; something that also breaks down quickly. I think 2 years was long enough to wait, and it will be interesting to repot another one next spring to determine if 3 years is too long, and requires significant root pruning, or if the extra year only contributes to strengthening the tree.

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2 thoughts on “Collected Rocky Mountain Junipers repotting

  1. Way cool. Besides the bio-degradable burlap, I do believe that collected trees “love” wooden pots made-to-order. Nice!

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