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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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Random Bonsai Tip

Use vinegar and water to remove moss but it is not as effective as using Limestone Ammonium Nitrate (LAN) and water. Be very careful not to spill any of the LAN on the roots of the bonsai tree as it may burn them and may in the worst case cause the tree to die. Carefully paint the LAN and water mix on the trunk of the bonsai tree and within days you should see the moss turn brown and die.