Repotting a Western juniper
It had been a while since I last repotted my Western juniper. Although the drainage remained good, I’d been anxious to repot since styling the tree last fall and deciding on a new planting angle.
Wester juniper – August 2012
To maintain the angle indicated during the last styling, I affixed an aluminum wire that marked the front of the tree and the proper planting angle.
Marking the front with wire
After removing the tree, I cleaned and wired the pot before working on the roots.
Wired and ready to go
The pot was made by Michael Hagedorn. I’ve always appreciated the little touches in his pots like the grooves he left for the wires.
Just enough space for the ends of the z-clip
#2 aluminum in the groove – the perpendicular groove at the midpoint allows space for wire-cutters
Signature Crataegus grooves
There were plenty of roots for me to work with.
Lots of roots
After removing the roots from the bottom of the rootball, I found a peculiarly square root.
I pressed a bit from the top and it easily came loose.
Clues from the last repotting
Knocking out the block left a perfectly square gap in the roots.
A perfect spot for new soil
I’d forgotten why I placed the block under the trunk, but after seeing photos from the last repotting in early 2010, it all came back.
Chopstick and block – February 2010
Seeing the photo surprised me as the roots were now solid in all directions.
Plenty of roots to spare
I was able to complete the repotting without the assistance of blocks, however I employed a single chopstick as a short-term brace.
Although I tilted the tree forward and towards the center, the original plan was to have it lean even more toward the front.
Current planted angle
The original plan
I’ll likely tilt the tree farther forward the next time I repot, which, judging by recent history, gives the tree two to three years to grow in peace. By that time the branches will need attention and I can start thinking about when next to show the tree in an exhibit.