I mentioned elsewhere that during late 2009 and indeed 2010 I had concerns for my old Japanese White Pine. This tree has been in my family for almost thirty years and I honestly didn’t like the was it was going.
You’d be forgiven then for assuming I might have got the proverbial finger out and run with a re-pot during 2010. But no, one reason and another dictated I was unable to undertake the re-pot. During the peak of growing during May and June 2010 I became aware it was struggling and whilst I could still have run with a re-pot at that time I chose to wait until 2011; assuming that late 2010, early 2011 would be a fairly mild winter compared to the previous two! How wrong can you be.
With already damaged roots, 2010/11 almost wiped this tree out. I did NOT give it sufficient protection during the last winter and so it sat, anywhere from -3 or 4, to -14c. Weeks and weeks this cold snap lingered, and I knew then it was a late spring 2011 re-pot or the tree would be a ‘gonner.’ In essence the cold is not as bad as standing in water of course.
Under normal circumstances I would root-prune around half of the ball and follow this up two years later on the other half. When finally I lifted the tree I was horrified at the damage that three hard consecutive winters had brought me. You can see the root ball in more detail under ‘repotting’ on the main header bar.
I had no choice it was the lot. I removed all black and sludgy brown and went it pretty darned hard. During 2011 I carefully watched the JWP and started up a care and feeding regime that I thought might well work. Indeed it did and some seven to eight months after the re-pot I am delighted with progress. Most of all the two and three year old needles are now gone and that awful green to yellow colour has disappeared. I shall continue to work the tree next year and look forward to a much more healthy tree. Anyone reading this with doubts on hardiness of this species think again! They do not have the advantage of staying dry nor can they cocoon their roots deeper. I do advocate keeping a JWP very much on the dry side from November through winter and into early spring. This will help alleviate root rot from sitting water.
This first image is late Summer 2011 (current year) the second is from late summer 2010. What a difference a year makes! I live and learn 🙂