Butchered my jade tree; concerned about roots

Hopesndreams(5)April 29, 2012

Hello! This is my first post. I bought a jade plant a few years ago from someone who was having a garage sale. It remained in the same pot until this year. The branches became really leggy and it was top heavy. I decided to butcher it and take everything off. The soil it was in before was like caked on mud. I had to crack the pot just to get it out and then had to knock the mud stuff off the roots. I'm wondering if the roots are even healthy at all. They look woody and brittle to me. There isn't a foul odor. Before I put it into a new pot I want to make sure they are healthy and don't need trimmed at all. Any advice would be appreciated!

Before the butchering:



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Just put it in good sandy - rocky soil and put it in a shady spot for a few weeks watering lightly ... should grow back just fine

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Take off all of the deadish root tissue - you don't have to strip it, but get most of it off.

Repot it in porous soil (you can get a number of different mixes' recipes on the Crassula ovata / jade plant threads here).

Don't use sand if it can be avoided, and it can.

Don't water it at all - mist the branches every day / every other day until you see growth (which, in the season we're in, might be 2-4 weeks, if that), then you can begin watering it again. A sign of the roots regenerating will be that growth, indicating it's OK to water / fertilize it.

BTW, great job chopping it prettily.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:57PM
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It's only been a week and a half since I chopped up my jade. The plant is in a my husbands game room and he doesn't open the curtain much so the light is minimal. I misted the branches daily till I saw one tip look mushy. Now all the tips of the jade are falling off at the first node. It looks like the tips dried and shriveled and just fell. This happened to all of them. Am I doing something wrong? Misting too much or not enough? Should I put it in a more well lit room? Would changing the soil to a completely dry soil help? When I planted it the soil was not 100% dry.

I gently squeezed all the branches and they don't feel soft and there isn't an odor if that helps at all. Please please please...help. I love this plant!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:03AM
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Hi, I am not a expert, but I would move it to a brighter spot(not direct sun)...and stop watering and misting it and check the soil, if it is really wet I would take out most of the wet soil and replace with dry...in fact jades like to be on the dry side...jades grow kinda slow, give your jade time to recoop from the cutting and repotting....I wouldn't water until I see new growth and then just small amounts and let the soil dry out between waterings....I am sure others will add to the help...good luck....linda

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:14AM
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More light, still indirect (at least for the most part) but brighter. You're doing fine, except for the fact of misting daily / ill-lit room, but that's nothing to worry about. Also something not to worry about is the nubbins falling off - depending on where you cut the section of branch (the part between the nodes) this should happen.

You're doing fine - just more light - bright, indirect light all day would be a fine thing indeed, and bring to you more quickly the sheaves of leaves.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:18AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Microthrix,

I see you're new & youngish at that. Pls. do not counsel folks to use sand, at all, EVER.

We get lots of problems w/ folks coming here to UNDO all the problems they've had w/ sandy mixes, so PLEASE do not come on here, sounding like you might have some experience w/ growing these & then give folks this bad advice (which we all work hard to undo). It only causes problems down the road. Otherwise your participation is most welcome.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Im sorry everyone does anything different than me but thats how i do it! I have been growing cacti and succulents for about 5 years and have always used sandy mixes and i have only ever lost about 10 things ... i guess the watering part is a bit to much but i have had many cuttings grow successfully that way :) so how about you PLEASE dont come here and consule me :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:05PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

The tips drying up and falling off is normal. I would cut back on the misting. I wouldn't water until you see new leaves. Once new leaves appear, start to water and feed it. More light would be good too. What kind of soil is the plant in?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:01AM
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Hi Microthrix: I see you met our newly elected C&S moderator .

I got a question for them too. How does a succulent plant take up water ? A) misting it's remaining part B) the plants roots. C) none of the above D) all of the above

Question for some others When you and others make statement to not use sand and support the idea that sand be avoided as part of a fast draining soil what other options can you provide a reader ? Aside from instructing them to read other comments of this forum. Where can often be read other people use sifted sands as part of there succulent growing medias.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:22PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I'm someone who offers Perlite or Pumice.

Others here who advise use of gritty mix or 5:1:1 offer places where one can obtain those particular components.

"here can often be read other people use sifted sands as part of there succulent growing medias."

As to the quoted text, I have rarely seen that recommended here, so I don't know what is being referred to.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Because if you dont go by pirate girls rules of cacti and succulent growth and planting media she will give you the rudest comment ever -_-

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 4:09PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Sand is highly unadvised as a component in a container mix for any plant, whether succulent or not.
Sand - and any other fine particulate - will compact and impede drainage and disrupt aeration.

When sand approaches an appropriate size for use in a mix, it is more properly refered to as gravel.
I would not use any sand particle that was less than 1/8 of an inch, maybe 1/10 of an inch in a pinch.

I recommend Perlite, Pumice, Scoria, Quartzite, Granite, Turface, just as I always do.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:07PM
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sutremaine(UK S.Wales 9)

In theory, sand and other fine particles can be used if the drainage is such that the water quickly drains out of the area that the roots occupy. In practice, sand in a pot is a very bad idea unless your pots are the size of buckets. Small containers don't have the depth to drain water away from the root zone, and they don't have enough mass to keep the sand damp enough for the roots to take water from.

Consider garden soil. It works fine in the garden, even pure clay soil, because the stuff around a plant's roots is connected to a huge drain-cum-reservoir. Dig up a chunk of soil and put it in a pot outside and suddenly it gets soupy too quickly and dries solid too quickly.

In practice, anyone who's asking for advice on succulents and soil should be discouraged from sand and other fine particles. It's too much of a balancing act -- just use a gritty mix so that you can water the plant as often as you like without worrying about drowning it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:48PM
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