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My first I trim off the old roots?

Posted by granniek SC Texas (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 13, 11 at 10:16

A dear elderly lady gave me two plants last year that were in bloom. Planted them in the yard and they grew/bloomed happily. When first freeze was near I was told to just pull them out of the ground and put the plants in the garage.

The old roots seem dead, stalks are 3-4' tall. Do I simply plant them in the yard & water with root stimult or ? TIA

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

My slow dial-up connection is the pits! Finally found some helpful info. The main roots at the base of these stalks are alive! Could I cover the roots loosely with moss? The stalks are somewhat shriveled & 'rubbery'. For now I've put them on the ground under the shade of a tree where I'm hosing them a couple times a day. I guess I'll gradually move the stalks into higher sunlight, then plant in the ground. The area where I want them is in full sunlight. Will bare stalks sunburn?
Can anyone tell me whether this plan will work? The dear lady that gave me these can no longer answer my queries.

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

I'm only answering because no one else has yet; I'm no expert on planting in-ground. All mine overwinter indoors in pots, in sunny areas and lightly watered.

It won't hurt, especially if they're still dormant, to prune off any roots that are small and look dead or unhealthy. They'll grow those small feeder roots right back and most will benefit from the root-pruning.

I would think if they were stored bare-rooted you could probably soak them for a few hours in rainwater (or at least tap water that's been sitting for several hours to gas off some of the chlorine and come up to room temperature) with a few drops of SuperThrive in it, and then plant them right away into amended garden soil in your garden, then drench with your leftover soaking water. (If you don't already have it, SuperThrive is a wonderful supplement for all your plants, and especially transplants.)

Your other option is to "plunge": soak, then plant in a good-quality perlite-rich potting soil in a plastic pot and bury the pot up to the rim in it's garden spot. That way you have better control over the quality of the soil, keep some pests away from the root ball, keep the plant's roots at a stable ground temperature (clearly your plants were happy last year in the ground), and still be able to easily pull it up when you're ready to store.

Those are just my best ideas based on how we transplant bare-rooted plants that have been shipped to us. Good luck!


RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

Thanks Jen. I do have SuperThrive, usually use it in a concoction of rain water, root stimulator & ProTek.

If I do the 'plunge in a pot', how large a pot? Do the plants prefer to be root bound? Or do I overpot to allow for more root growth? These stalks are tall.

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

Sounds like you're on top of the supplements already, GrannieK!

Maybe kms2 will jump in. He's in San Antonio and I think he plunges his pots. The pot needs to be roomy enough for your plant, say one gallon per foot of trunk height, up to about 7 gallons, because that's still a moveable size and doesn't retain too much water in the soil to rot the roots. The plants' roots will quickly seek out the surrounding garden soil through the drain holes for whatever extra food or water it needs when the pot is dry.

My own dear elderly neighbor has three plumerias that are at least six feet tall that she keeps in 3 gallon pots, above ground, yet they still bloom and the two Celadines bloom all summer, so they must be okay a bit root bound. I think she root-prunes and refreshes the soil every spring around this time and waters faithfully all summer because they get full southwest sun most of the day, and are up against her white stone house which must radiate a lot of heat. Hers are not very thick trees, maybe 8-10 years old, but they must have two dozen tips each so they're not puny, either. I admire those trees every day through the summer.

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

I have always off seasoned in pots. When I root prune I leave a root ball no smaller than a basketball on a 3-5 ft tall tree.

I think they loose productivity as they become root bound. I partially plunge some of them for stability and asthetic purposes. As dry as it has been here and the maturity of my trees I have never had an over watering problem.

I think you can get them in soil without much more that the superthrive soak and stabilizing the trunk. I dont think they will sunburn right now. Get them growing and by the time the full TX sun is upon them they will have nice big green leaves.

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

I wish I had a neighbor with blooming plumerias!

kms2, I live about 65 mi SE of San Antonio. We ranch about 360 acres of land and are experiencing bad drought conditions. Seems to be the norm for us these past years.
I don't grow near the number of potted plants as in past years, they simply dry out too fast

I'm glad to hear that the sun won't hurt the stalks. I'll soak them this evening and plant them tomorrow.

Thx to you both for taking the time to give advice.

Sheila :)

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

Its looking like we are going to have another dry year. I'm ready to move to a place where it still rains and the lakes aren't 40ft down.

RE: My first I trim off the old roots?

These plants have been in the ground now over two weeks. One plant has completely firmed, the other still has rubbery, shriveled branch tips. How long before I should see signs of leaf growth? Should I be feeding even though there are no leaves?

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