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My Pine wobbles and lacks new roots

Q: I have a sweet little Pine which has been in a pot for about 18 months, but has not put out any new roots and tends to wobble in the pot. Can you tell me why?

A: If your tree wobbles, the cause is usually -

..too few radiating surface roots

..roots to one side only

..string roots, which means roots only opposite i.e "nort and south" or "east and west."

..soil too loose.

No amount of fertilizer will correct any of these conditions in fact it will only aggravate it, as the tree with a few roots cannot get enough nourishment and so new roots will be few and far between.

Possible remedy (for Pines) -

-When repotting your Pine, prick with a needle through the bark and cambium layer at places where you want to encourage new roots, pot in a deeper pot so that surface roots are now about one inch below potting soil, and leave for two years.

-Potting mixture for this should contain more sand.

-Wiring of roots to radiate and so give it a firmer grip.

-Root grafting or layering of the whole tree.

-Addition of sand, or if too sandy, grey clay.

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Distant mountain heights...

Lonely trees clinging...

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Random Bonsai Tip

Salvaging wire - Off-cuts of heavy electric cable (three centimeters diameter) as used by the Electricity department will keep you in copper and galvanized wire for a few years. Galvanized wire can be used for stay wiring and also tying down trees and pots against the wind.