The Q&A Archives: Transplanting the Rootball

Question: When removing a plant from a pot to re-plant, should the roots of the plant be left undisturbed?

Answer: It depends! If the plant is rootbound, meaning that the roots are wrapping around themselves in a tight ball, they should be carefully untangled. Or, you can use a sharp knife to "score" down the sides of the rootball. The idea is to spread the roots so they will grow out into the surrounding soil. If left wrapped, they will continue to grow around themselves, basically choking the plant and it won't thrive. On the other hand, if the roots look young and fresh and aren't tangled, it is best to keep the rootball intact and undisturbed.

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