This is the end of the second year of growing these Scots pines from seedlings. They are a bit different to grow than other broad leaved species in that they seem a lot slower - taking a long time to grow roots and stabilise themselves in the pots. This is nice in that you can take your time to arrange the surface roots - unlike Oaks which would have massive tap roots circling the pot in 2 years.
These are the 2 prime pines - now planted over into the new air-pots. There is a 3rd one which is ok and will be used to experiment on other soil types and a 4th which will be a planted out in a quiet flower bed to retire.
I wire a big bend into the trunks to make them a bit more interesting - no s-bends just a single curve. This takes about 4 months to set - and by the end of the year the wire marks are not visible any more. The large one was too stiff to bend by the time I got around to it.
All of these pines that I am currently growing have a good selection of lower growth. I have removed the tightly clustered lower growth to avoid major trafic nodes and have a nice spread of shoots to choose from when i sacrifice the upper sections.
The largest is now 22mm thick and the rest are about 18mm. I believe that a good root colonisation is responsible for the enhanced growth of the big one. The fungi seem to prefer the clay pebbles to the coco media - so i may plant the last good pine in pebbles and see what it does.
The more vigorous one has quite a good colonisation of the roots by Mycorrhizal which probably explains why it's so much bigger than the other. I preserved all of the roots which were visibly colonised.
I was planning to move them over to colanders but discovered these air-pots which seem to be the ideal solution to the problem. I had thought that I was a genius for discovering them and using them with pines - but I know that several others have beaten me to it.
Here the same 2 pines are last year at about this time of year.
I potted them now in the late summer once the growing was over but the roots still active. They should settle in nicely over the next few months and then have a big start to the spring.
Here are the roots after 2 years in coco. Even at this stage it's still not too root bound - although this is probably the right time to move them up to a better pot. I didn't want to disturb the roots too much at this time of the year so I moved them over like this. The air-pot should clear up the few wrap around roots in there.
So after 2 years of trying the canna soils the coco coir media of the professional plus is the way to go for me.
These are planted again into the coco growing media with clay pebbles lining the bottom of the pots.