Complicated question on root growth (Luis, maybe?)

melaroma(6)April 9, 2013

I am close to ripping out my BB as it blooms poorly and has had iron chlorosis inspite of my using liquid iron chelated for years now. However, a couple of years back I found out while transplanting it that unlike the ES who had a strong root system the BB had one straggly main root with very little root system attached. Seems that I may have bought a runt...

So before I rip the poor little guy out I wonder if there is anything that I can do to stimulate root growth even if it means sacrificing blooms for this year. If I trim him back, how much? Do I just pinch the blooms off? The poor guy is strugling but he seems to try really hard to bloom so I think that he deserves one more chance. (This will be his last 4th "last" chance, lol)

I tend to like to use organic fertilizers such as Dr. Earth but in this case i am willing to try a little bit of inorganic fertilizer if it helps. What would you guys recommend I use and when during the growing season. Also, I know that I am not suppose to fertilize in the fall but since roots grow in the winter I thought that maybe then I could boost the root system with something that would not encourage top growth...

Any advice is appreciated!

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gardengal48

Since it's this little guy's "last chance", I'd do some root pruning. It can't hurt and it very well could help. Dig him up and remove about an inch from all visible roots (you may have to wash or bare root the plant). Re-plant in suitable soil away from any other root competition (larger, more aggressive plants). You can amend the planting area with some Dr. Earth starter fertilizer, which is formulated to stimulate root production, or a similar root booster product. This is NOT the same as B1, although that may be a component of the mix. B1 has no impact on root development and is typically present in the soil in sufficient concentration anyway.

Fall fertilizing of woody plants is highly recommended. It is a period of very active root development. You just want to avoid any high nitrogen fertilizers that may encourage rapid new growth at that time of year, so focus on the second two numbers of the fert label being higher than the first. Root pruning will encourage the development of fine feeder roots, which will be more able to support topgrowth.

Chlorosis is an indication of insufficiently acidic soil withholding needed nutrients. Make sure your soil is appropriately acidic before planting.

Trimming back topgrowth does not really stimulate root development. In fact, pruning encourages additional growth so trimming back the above ground portions of the plant can place unnecessary stress on an already overtaxed root system!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 1:55PM
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