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Plants in pots

I've had an Acer Palmatum Dissectum for 17+ years, regularly re-potting it in larger pots. It's now in a 21" pot and the Acer is approximately 24" tall. On the face of it the pot should be large enough but it has a very large root ball and is now quite severely root bound. I have tried it in a 24" pot and it looks silly! Can I prune the roots to fit the existing pot, or is it time to plant it in the garden?


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,210

    I should imagine that it would be delighted to find itself in the garden.image

    No early morning sun though as they get badly frazzled on frosty days. But I'm sure you know that.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    If you wait until the buds are about to open in the spring you can repot and prune away up to a third of the roots. Prune the top growth a bit at the same time to keep it in balance and it will be quite happy. Bonsai growers do this for their trees routinely every couple of years to keep them healthy and vigorous. 

  • Thank you pansyface, Daryl2, Buddyboy and Verdun for your helpful advice. I'm looking at re-arranging some of the garden to take it - and some other large specimens that are outgrowing their pots - but in the meantime I have teased out the roots and used a fractionally larger pot with new John Innes No3 mixed with ericaceous compost until ready to plant out


  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,448

    Think of your Acer as a bonsai.These are regularly root pruned to allow them to stay in small pots.If your Acer looks good in the pot it's in just root prune so it fits.Google for more info!

    My English Elm is doing very well after 20 years in a pot!

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • Daryl2Daryl2 Posts: 452

    That was my suggestion too but I think that non bonsai people are not so happy with that idea. If it was a bonsai acer it should not have been repotted at this time of year. As 'bonsai' means a tree in a pot (which this acer is), I hope this tree survives the repot. Spring would have been a better time. 

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027

    Be very wary of pruning Acer branches in Spring, they are well known for bleeding, which can lead to disease and / or death.

    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
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