Repotting my BIG Larch (XL) against better judgement!

Although he was and still is doing just fine, in several places some long leggy roots had grown above ground that needed attention! So I just wanted to make sure that the pot is not full of this kind of roots! It is a large tree in a heavy pot filled with at least 5 bags of Akadama and 10 meters to cross to the place where I repot/work! And now image the ego of a proud 61 years old former weight lifter with a bunch of back hernias and weak knees! Well, tree and pot made it alright…I didn’t! It was just too much on my knees (I need new ones soon) and my .. back hurt like a mother! So today my hurt ego thought: let’s repot him! So I lifted it again, but with attitude now and got that job done. But now I had to free the tree from its years-long home using root hooks, old cake knives and screwdrivers! And that was not as easy as it may sound! It took me more than an hour to create a ditch around the tree. And by laying my left hand on the rim of the pot holding it down, while I with my right hand carefully press backwards against the tree until it is freed from the bottom of the pot! Now I could lift him out of the pot into a large plastic repotting tray. And then start the tedious work of carefully coming out the root and removing the old soil! Long and leggy roots are shortened or removed completely! There are more than enough small roots to assure the tree’s good health. My hurting back and knees were more than happy that I had just enough prepared (sifted) Akadama and Bims leftover from last year’s potting sessions to fill the whole bottom of the pot with, in this case, some 5 cm/2 Inch. Then in the place where the centre of my tree would be, I made with that same soil a small hill of about some 10 cm/4 Inch high! Then I place the centre of the tree on top of that hill and start to carefully twist the tree downwards into its desired place! This way you can make sure that all the crevasses underneath the tree are filled with soil! Carefully twist, shift and push until the desired position is reached and fill up the rest of the pot with your soil. And use a chopstick to carefully fill every space in between those roots! Then wirers are tightened some more! Then very anxious and carefully for my poor back and knees, he was brought back to its old place where he crew so happy all those years and watered until the water that poured out from the bottom wholes was clear! So I am happy and proud that I made it possible for this tree to stay healthy and happy in my garden for some more years! And who knows what the future will bring…but that’s for later!

Below: XL on the makeshift repotting table.

Below: After he was finally freed from his pot, I carefully combed out her roots and shortened the too long ones and completely removed the long ones without mutch small feeder roots on them!

Below: With a chopstick, the soil is carefully pushed and wiggled in between the roots making sure that no air pockets are left!

Below: After all the empty spaces between the roots are all carefully filled with soil the tree is watered until the water that runs out off the bottom holes is completely clear! He should now be alright for another 3 or 4 years!

My prayer goes out to the people of Ukraine!

Cheers,

Hans van Meer.

ukraine

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