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Can I repot in Winter

We have a lovely Acer, which we inherited when we bought our house 6 months ago.  It is in a pot. I have no idea when it was last repotted (I suspect never). It is quite tall, so it is probably a few years old.

There are two problems:

1. The root(s) have grown through the pot into the soil beneath.

2. The soil is waterlogged.

However, despite this the acer is going quite well.

Clearly it needs to be repotted. Can I do this now - in November?

I'm concerned the water will freeze and damage the plant if I just leave it.

Should I pull the root out of the ground or cut it?

Please help.



  • How much root has grown into the soil below?  I think I'd try to ease the root out of the soil.

    I'm not an acer expert, but my instinct says raise the pot off the ground onto little pot feet or even a triangle of bricks to improve drainage, and wrap the pot itself in a few layers of bubble wrap.  

    You say the tree is doing quite well and it's obviously survived a few winters where it is.  Apart from raising and lagging the pot I would leave it as is for the moment and repot (using ericaceous compost) in March.

    But as I say, I'm not an acer expert - let's see what the others say image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hi Dovefromabove, thank you for your response. image 

    I'm not really sure how much root has grown into the soil. My instinct tells me not to repot at the moment either - but the drainage definitely needs improving. I'll see what others have to say.

  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    When I bought an acer from a nursery at Tatton flower show, they told me to re pot in November. I used John Innes ericaceous compost with a bit of grit mixed in at the bottom.

  • No problem in repotting into a slightly larger pot right now.  What you don't want to do (with any plant) is to re-pot it into a much larger pot at this time of year as the chances are all of that new extra compost will stay wet and cause the roots to rot before they start growing again in Spring.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Have potted two of my "Acer's" this very afternoon! Always do before they are wrapped n put to bed for the winter! image

  • I am worried about the soil being waterlogged. I would take it out the pot and improve the drainage and squeeze the roots to get rid of excess water. With the improved drainage (stones, vermiculite, gravel or whaterver) and put the Acer back in the same pot. It will not be growing until spring and a quick way to kill them is waterlogging.

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    I agree with Blairs,I suspect that when you lifr it from the pot a lot of the sodden soil will drop off,I would knock off as much of the remaining soil as possible and replant back in the same pot with a mixture of drainage material as suggested..

    Repot or plant direct in the garden in about March.

  • A little less insolence from you young man - any more cheek and there'll be no marmalade bread and butter pudding for you tomorrow imageimage

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    Thats so cruel Dove.......image

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