After a miserable few days of being very ill I managed to get outside and took a look at the purple beech
(first posted here: http://dj-bonsai.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/fagus-sylvatica-purpurea.html )
There is a small section of the surface root bark which has peeled off, revealing what might be heartwood. A somewhat depressing outcome when you consider that this would be the front of the final image, and more importantly signifies trouble. I took advice from the great community of enthusiasts at www.weetrees.co.uk in this thread: http://weetrees.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11358 and decided to tackle it's first repot
Ready to be moved. But it's SO big it needed tipping on it's side
Took some big effort to get it out, this is a 2L bottle of water next to it! Definitely needed a repot! 90L of soil here we come....
SO much root in here, it took some serious teasing...
Over 1.5 hrs later and we are still teasing out the roots, called in the heavy mob.... (check the kids gardening tools - cost very little but far more forgiving than traditional metal root hooks, as they bend when they stress the roots too much, meaning less tearing)
Getting there..... Kids are so tenacious - great to share something like this with them - and Josh has helped me before so has just the right touch!
2 hours in and we've removed the bulk of the mud - but this is where the real work starts, untangling the larger roots... we've removed 85L of soil by now.
by this point I was worried about drying so misted the roots every few minutes. It was a total mess down there, and each small victory of earth removed, revealed a new problem in terms of clumped roots and entanglement
This was the point where I realised that it would reduce in height no further without chopping major fat rootage. There were some major LARGE roots pointing down, which would need to at least be started on before planting this one out, or I'd never get this one in a pot...
The worst offender, at over 10" long, pointing straight down....
Eventually I worked out that much of the fibrous root wasn't coming from the end of this lump, so managed to saw back around half of it for now, and bared some spots for future rooting, which I covered in rooting hormone and sphagnum moss.
I was too covered in muck to photo any more but here she lies in the ground now, in a nicely draining mix of good quality compost and lots of grit. a good soaking and it'll sit here for a few years now.
Pleasingly I found no evidence of vine weevil or any other nasties in there.
There appeared to be one puzzlingly dead root - unfortunately it looks like 2 of the surface roots are dead, but with that in mind, I'm just going to grow it in the ground now and let those live veins fatten up again, while bulking it up. I think I removed just enough of the big rootage underneath without compromising the finer stuff further up.
Next time I'll reduce it down further again, in around 3 years, replant in the ground then at that point, then 3 years or so later I'll look at finally removing ALL heavy roots down there .
Heavy work when you are feeling poorly, but all in all 5 hours very well spent.
Thanks for reading, til next time....