Ask a Question forum: Roots never developed beyond root ball

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jeh
May 16, 2017 10:27 AM CST
I planted some 5 gallon rhapheolepis, Indian Hawthorne, well over a year ago in amended clay soil with pretty decent drainage. I live in SoCal with a slight ocean influence but not enough for any kind of salt problem. They were doing beautifully and developed lots of buds, but they never opened. They soon began losing their nice green color and then started to die. Despite my efforts, they just kept going downhill, so I dug them up. They were not root bound at all but failed to develop many roots beyond the original shape of the root ball. They did get ample water. I'm stumped. Ideas?
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 16, 2017 11:48 AM CST
When you get a plant like that, it really is rootbound. The roots couldn't get out of the pot shape. Next time, try to loosen the tangle by pulling the root ball apart from the bottom up. Then plant your upside 'V' over a mound of dirt in your planting hole. That will be enough for the roots to get out and grow into the native soil.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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jeh
May 16, 2017 12:34 PM CST
Yeah, I did loosen the root ball but maybe not enough. Thanks for the suggestion.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 16, 2017 1:10 PM CST
It also looks really dry. Was water penetrating through to the middle of the rootball.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

jeh
May 16, 2017 11:04 PM CST
They look dry because they'd been out a couple of days. But, yes, they'd always received ample water and were good and moist when I dug them up.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 16, 2017 11:24 PM CST
So I think the problem is the inability to grow out of the rootball. Plants are strange - some would have no problem bulldozing their way but others are easily discouraged.

I always break the rootball apart to form the upside down V. That way, you may rip a couple roots but you aren't cutting all the roots. Sometimes it take some effort to get the rootball apart but I think you now know the benefits.

I hope you aren't discouraged. This is the time you replant the Hawthorne or come up with a whole new idea. Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org

jeh
May 17, 2017 9:22 AM CST
Thank You!

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