Saturday, 27 February 2010

Repotting a small Oak

The buds on the Oak were starting to swell. So it was time for repotting. I'd placed the tiny oak ( which was growing in a peat seedling cup ) in a small pot with an inner lip. It proved very hard to extract. It had been in this pot for 2 years.

I'm going to discard that pot as its so hard to get anything out of it.

Once I'd got it out of there is discovered that the roots were 6 foot long and had been doing laps of the pot. This type of root is very different from other species i had worked with before - and it was extremely pot bound. Interesting that the root growth had been as vigorous as the above ground growth which had been rather extreme during the peak of the growing season last year.

Any of the new acorns ( 12 being prepared now ) that germinate this year will immediately go into larger pots based on this knowledge.

I lack experience with repotting roots like this - so I decided to be cautious and not cut back the large long roots too much. The placement in the pot was defined by getting the large root system into the pot and unwinding them. this may be a mistake - we will see what it looks like when i repot it again in a few years.

The pot is a little to large - but I'm aiming at massive growth over the next 2 years so i need plenty of headroom.

The soil is filtered Akadama and fuji grit ( 70 / 30 aprox ). I'm hoping the fuji grit stops it setting like concrete. The good akadama is cheaper than local hydroponic alternatives and is very effective. So why not ?

The cat was very interested in the process and lent a hand as usual. 

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Design Time

This little Field Maple is an early starter this year. Its really roaring ahead.

But what to do with it?

I though i would try out an informal upright style. Ive even found a nice little pot for it. Now all i need is a quiet decade to grow it - well 3 years and it will look pretty. I enjoy growing the plants from seedlings or nursery material - its a mode deliberate process of design and growing. Unlike finding the shape in a yamadori you have to grow the plant into a vision in your head.

Il repot it later into a batch of my homemade soil. Need a nice big batch of soil as im going to try to start off some acorns as well.

I though back to this little fig i grew many years ( 2002 ) ago for inspiration. The poor fig had been through some hard times and wasn't in great shape - but i was very fond of it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

New Material - potting

I made up a batch of soil for the new trees. Its a 4 equal part by volume mix of sharp sand / John Innes No.4 / vermiculite / fine horticultural grit. Why that mix  - because it looks a lot like the loamy soil I see them growing in naturally and its also the soil that my oak did so well in last year. The field maples were planted in straight John Innes which is nearly waterproof and sets like concrete, so the sharp sand and grit loosen it up a bit and the vermiculite holds some extra water. So far it drains well.

I bought a bunch of cheap plastic pots for these young trees to live in outside for the next few years. They have such whopping holes in the bottom of them that i feared all the soil would just fall out. I got some if the lining for hanging baskets and cut it to fit the bottom of the pot.

The roots of the bare root plants on average were quite good - but needed a bit of trimming to fit into the pots.

Beech roots.

Hawthorn roots.

In the pot. 

Can't wait for the first buds to get out and get the growing and training under way.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

New Material - Buckingham Nurseries

Ive been looking for some new native material. While cruising the local lanes and woodlands i couldn't see anything there that inspired me.

I decided to explore the hedging nurseries for material. Buckingham nurseries is an easy drive out of London on a Saturday morning.

All of the species i wanted to start this year were available in several sizes.

I picked up a few Hawthorns and Copper beeches. The Beeches were 120cm and the Hawthorns 150cm tall. These larger plants were all £2.95 each.

These trees are supplied bare root - and wasn't 100% certain how this was done. As you can see in the pictures they have bushels of them sitting loosely in the ground. Once you have decided what you want the staff gently tug them out for you. You get a reasonable amount of root.

I have the roots soaking in water now and I'l make up some soil for them and get them potted tomorrow.

More images in the next few days.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Spring Buds

The first spring buds are starting to swell on the Field Maples and the Japanese Maples are bleeding through some sealed wounds. 
Note the cat fur on the poor little field maple. My cat loves gardening. Sometimes she's a little too enthusiastic though. Here's a picture of her pruning a maple for me. Very kind.

Time to start work on the repotting.

Note to cat. Akadama isnt kitty litter.