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TOPIC: 1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots

1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots 3 months 1 week ago #37394

Hi everyone! Just got my first two starter bonsai trees last summer (shimpaku juniper and dawn redwood) and after reading tons of blogs and watching countless videos, I finally got the courage to re-pot this last weekend.

Well, I ran into a snag with the juniper that I could use some help with. Once I removed the top soil and began raking out the roots, I discovered multiple HUGE roots (that were pretty woody) that all seemed to curve backwards and around to the point where I couldn't even determine where each one started and ended. I was torn on what to do for multiple reasons:

- I read that you should not remove all the soil on junipers (something about good bacteria?), so I was afraid to keep digging
- I know you should remove any larger/tap roots b/c they take up too much of the tree's resources
- I think I saw that unlike other trees, certain roots on junipers feed certain parts of the tree, so I didn't want to just blindly cut the big roots off and risk killing parts of the tree
- I actually wanted to keep a couple of them as part of the root flare

To be on the safe side, I ended up just removing a couple medium sized roots, trimming the long/thin ones, and re-potting it with the larger roots in tact. Any tips and recommendations would be GREATLY appreciated.

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1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots 3 months 1 week ago #37395

I sarah,

Welcome to the empire.

You do not state where you are located. I am going to venture an assumption.. You are in the northern hemisphere?

In all these hours of watching and studying. Did you run into something like the optimal time for repotting? For juniper that is not now, but quite a bit later in the year. Some would even say that mid spring is ideal...

Trimming roots like these is best done over time, especially if you are not familiar with the process. Maybe one tird this year, up to the last small side-root you see on it. Then in 1-2 years the next.

Make sure you do not let the roots dry out while working on the plant.
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1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots 3 months 1 week ago #37396

For reference, here it is after re-potting.

*I just learned that my tap water is making the trunk turn salty/white and am in the process of fixing that

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1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots 3 months 1 week ago #37398

As you do not state where you are located... If in the northern hemisphere, the winterrain should keep it watered sufficiently. Why is it getting tap-water? It is not indoors is it? (It should not be, but I am sure you have realized that with all the great studying you have done).
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1st timer - shimpaku juniper roots 3 months 1 week ago #37399

The tree is absolutely outside. I am in the south bay in California, where it is already in the 70's (fahrenheit) during the day, and we get little to no rainfall - that's why it gets tap water. I also mist it regularly, but my local bonsai club told me it needs water as well.
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