How To Repot A Root Bound Tree

6 Steps To Repot Your Root Bound Tree

Here’s the small problem.

By our kitchen corner window is a pot bound Key Lime Tree and an Umbrella Tree.  Both are unhappy.  They need bigger pots and a change of pace.  You could see they weren’t thriving as in the past.  Both have grown considerably and would look great on wrought-iron stands in the dining room.

 

Root Bound Umbrella Tree

Root Bound Umbrella Tree

 

My wife and I picked up two large container pots at the Walmart garden centre, as well as a bag of Miracle Gro Potting Mix.  Then to another garden centre for a bag of Vermiculite.   It was a beautiful morning so we set up shop on the deck and did some repotting together.

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I made a short slideshow of how we did it, as well as some photos below.

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You can really see the contrast in size between the old pot and the new container.  The green one is hand-painted with flourished repurposed buttons glued on by my buddy Jas.  She’s into crafts.  The original pot is the beige one inside it.

 

container pot from walmart

These pots were inexpensive.  We watched the flyers for a sale in the garden center and picked them up for a couple of bucks along with the bags of potting mix, vermiculite and a bunch of extra garden stuff like tomato stakes.  The key is to go offpeak and stash stuff away in the shed for the spring.

 

Remember To Drill Drainage Holes

Remember To Drill Drainage Holes

 

I put the pots upside down on the deck and drilled some 1/4 inch holes for drainage.  To prevent the soil from leaking out of the holes when we filled them we put some paper towel lining the bottom.  Then we added a mixture of Miracle Gro and Vermiculite and mixed it by hand.  The reason we added the Vermiculite to such a good potting mix as Miracle Gro was to lighten the weight of the soil a little more to make it easier to move the plants.

 

pot with drainage

Sunlight Through The Drilled Holes In The Pot

If you forget to drill holes, welcome to the club!  I have a giant 2.5 foot terra cotta pot in my backyard that was filled with chunks of clay that I dug out when putting a Neil Diamond rose in the ground.  It poured rain overnight which was great for the rose, but turned the pot into a forty-pound block of cement because I forgot to drill it.

 

Vermiculte & Miracle Grow

Vermiculite & Miracle Grow

 

The tricky part is the transplant.  We squeezed the old pot GENTLY like getting an orange ready to peel.  This will loosen the soil and hopefully slide out the entire root system and tree in one motion.  Then we moved the Key Lime Tree to the new pot and slowly filled in around it.

 

Key Lime Root System

Key Lime Root System

Take care around the roots!  Be gentle, it will shock the tree moving it.  But over the next few days if you water and nutrient it the little baby roots will expand and settle in to their new home.

 

Water The New Pot Well

Water The New Pot Well

The Umbrella Tree was even more root bound!  We bought this tree for $5 at a fundraising sale at the London Civic Gardens.  A great value for such a healthy, fast-growing tree.  Look at that root ball!  Solid…it certainly was time to repot them, wasn’t it?

 

Umbrella Tree

Umbrella Tree

The entire process took less than 20 minutes, and now we have 2 beautiful, healthy trees in pots big enough to grow and be happy in.  We left them outside for a few hours to rest and drink up the water.  Since they are both inside trees we took our time bringing them in to make sure no spiders or crawling unwanted guests came in with them.

Watering The Umbrella Tree

Watering The Umbrella Tree

This little tree is nearly touching the roof in my dining room after just 2 years.  It loves sitting near the north window getting indirect sunlight.  Wonder how tall it would grow if it had the chance?

 

Key Lime Tree In New Pot

Key Lime Tree In New Pot

The Key Lime tree has 2 giant branches out of the top, so we put in a medium stake to train them upwards.  This tree has some of the sharpest spikes on it, so be careful when moving one of these.

The entire tree transplant process was supervised by Mrs. Robin who fed her two babies constantly while we worked.  This is the 2nd batch of eggs that have hatched this season. She eats a lot of worms out of the garden but its a trade-off to have nice birds around.

Mrs. Robin & 2 Babies

Mrs. Robin & 2 Babies

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I hope you enjoyed my tips on How To Repot Your Root-Bound Tree.  Please share below with your gardening friends.

 

 

 

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