How to Repot a Garden Tree

Growing trees in pots is a great option for small or temporary gardens, but repotting is something that you will need to do on a regular basis.

Why? When? How?

Here’s everything you need to know…

Why Do Trees Need to Be Repotted?

Trees planted in the ground have access to a constant cycle of nutrients, as well as plenty of space.

However, a tree in a pot has limited amounts of all of these. As that tree grows, it will use up all of the nutrients in its potting mix, and its roots will also need more room to expand, which is why a new and larger pot will be necessary.

When to Repot a Tree

Some trees, such as the Dragon Tree, are very slow-growing, so won’t need to be repotted as often as a tree that grows quickly.

Generally, garden trees will need new pots every two to four years.

However, pay attention to the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot – if you notice roots emerging from these, then that’s a sign that your tree is ready to move into a larger container.

Choosing a Pot

While you will need to go for a pot that’s larger than what your tree is currently in, around 25% bigger to be exact, don’t forget to consider pot material too. When looking at online pots, you will see so many different material types.

Trees in terracotta pots will need to be watered more often, since the soil in terracotta dries out quickly. On the other hand, wooden pots may retain too much moisture.

One of the best pot materials for trees is large GRC pots – a mix of concrete and fibreglass that gives you a very sturdy but lightweight pot that’s perfect for trees.

Choosing a Potting Mix

The ideal potting mix for a tree is one that retains moisture, but not too much. Drainage should be good, as most trees don’t like to have constantly soggy roots.

A soil-based compost is usually best, but with some perlite or sand mixed through to increase drainage.

Even if your potting mix is quite nutrient-dense, you will still probably need to fertilize your tree at least twice a year.

How to Repot a Tree

Begin by preparing your new pot – ensure that there are enough drainage holes, adding more if necessary, and half fill it with your chosen potting mix, before watering.

Then, use a trowel to gently loosen your tree from its old pot. Once you can feel enough movement in the pot, hold it near its base and slowly slide it out. Depending on how large your tree is, you may need two people for this job!

Place your tree onto the potting mix in your new pot, adjusting it so that the soil line on the trunk is level with the surface of its new pot. Fill in the pot with the rest of your potting mix, and then give your tree some water.

You may need to water your tree a couple more times after the soil has settled, adding in more soil if required.

It’s easy to repot a small tree, but the process can get quite tricky as a tree matures. However, by understanding exactly what’s involved, you will be able to give your potted garden trees all they need, ensuring that they thrive for many years to come.

 

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