My Pine wobbles and lacks new roots

Q: I have a sweet little Pine which has been in a pot for about 18 months, but has not put out any new roots and tends to wobble in the pot. Can you tell me why?

A: If your tree wobbles, the cause is usually -

..too few radiating surface roots

..roots to one side only

..string roots, which means roots only opposite i.e "nort and south" or "east and west."

..soil too loose.

No amount of fertilizer will correct any of these conditions in fact it will only aggravate it, as the tree with a few roots cannot get enough nourishment and so new roots will be few and far between.

Possible remedy (for Pines) -

-When repotting your Pine, prick with a needle through the bark and cambium layer at places where you want to encourage new roots, pot in a deeper pot so that surface roots are now about one inch below potting soil, and leave for two years.

-Potting mixture for this should contain more sand.

-Wiring of roots to radiate and so give it a firmer grip.

-Root grafting or layering of the whole tree.

-Addition of sand, or if too sandy, grey clay.

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Random Bonsai Tip

To thicken thin branches make a cut just below the branch or a bud on the branch. The sugars produced in the leaves of the tree move down to the roots through the phloem, this flow of sap is interrupted by the cut and the accumulation of sugars above the cut increases the vigour as it is used by the bud, forcing it into action. As soon as the wound heals the normal sap flow resumes.