Repotting conifers and fertilizing

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    Dom McKenzie

      Hello all,

      I’ve got a couple of small junipers and a mugo pine I would like to re-pot. I think that perhaps with the temperatures having been so up and down (still light frost over night where I am in the UK) maybe I should wait a bit longer. Sorry if this is a bit of a beginner question but should I wait or does it not really matter? Is there any harm to waiting – I’m not in a rush…I don’t know if there’s a cut off point where I shouldn’t re-pot? guess would be once the temperatures are above a certain level I should leave it as messing with roots at that point will possibly cause problems… but I’m not sure! Maybe it’s more dependent on the amount of growth…?

      On a somewhat unrelated topic… a fairly basic question on fertilizing¬† – I’ve read in Morten’s book to hold fire until temperatures are above 15c – which on a good day here they just about are, but rarely right now… so I’ve been holding off. I know the 15c is just a guide so i’m wondering whether in practice I would be ok to start fertilizing some of the trees (that have not been re-potted recently) or whether there is a risk of damage if I start too early? Would you advise any difference in approach between deciduous and coniferous in this regard?

      Thanks – and sorry for the pretty basic questions! In previous years I’ve tended just to ‘muddle through’ – keen to gain a bit of insight from those with more knowledge.


      P.S. Caught up with the zoom meeting from last night just now – was keen to attend but couldn’t make it at the last moment. Look forward to coming to the next one.

      Geoff Hobson


        should be a bit milder in the next few days so you could still do the re pots next week once the threat of frost is less. Just don’t prune a lot of roots, and keep some of the rootball untouched if possible. I do not add any fertiliser until the leaves have opened and hardened off. There is no real need as they should have enough stored energy to sustain growth until leaves are open and able to photosynthesise.

        I am in North Dorset and we have had frosts for the last 4 or 5 nights but only light. Hopefully, tonight will be frost free,


        Dom McKenzie

          Thank you Geoff – much appreciated.

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