For years, I drove by a hawthorn on my way to work. The tree wasn’t particularly striking, but the fine branches were very dense. In fall, however, the tree was covered with bright, red, fruit.
One day I collected some of the fruit, and the following spring I planted them. A handful sprouted and I’m now developing two for bonsai. Here’s one of them.
The tree didn’t need repotting, but there was a large root growing near the surface of the soil. It was too big and in the wrong place to be useful so I decided to repot and see if I could reduce it.
After removing the tree from the pot, I exposed some of the surface soil to see how the root connected to the trunk. It wasn’t pretty.
The big root
It was hard to tell how many of the fine roots emerged from the large root so I removed most of the soil to get a better look. It turns out that the big root was more strange than I expected.
Large twisting root
I tried to separate the roots the best I could to get a better idea of how much of the large root I could remove. I opted to remove all but the first section.
After reducing the large root
The large roots that were removed
I planted the tree in a new container and will let grow freely for a year. In a year or two, when the smaller roots that emerge near the trunk have thickened, I’ll remove the last section of the oversized root.
As for the second young hawthorn, I didn’t see any major flaws near the surface of the soil, but I was curious to learn more about what was happening beneath the surface so I decided to take a look.
Another young hawthorn
I started by removing the surface soil to see if any surface roots had developed. I found two large roots that crossed each other and a few smaller roots that emerged above the rest of the surface roots.
Large crossing roots
I removed some of the smaller roots so I could further develop larger roots below.
Small roots emerging above the surface roots
After removing the smaller roots
As I didn’t see additional problems that needed attention, I was able to leave most of the rootball intact.
Root work complete
When the root work was complete, I planted the tree in a new container.
I expect the hawthorn with the intact rootball to grow strong this spring. The other hawthorn may slow down a bit. As it’s early in these trees’ development, I’m less concerned with the pace of the growth than the character of the growth.
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