growth stunted plants

Hi,
I'm glad I found this group. I have 3 crepe myrtle, 1 Japanese elm, and 1 Saphire dragon that were in pots for years. Now that they are in the ground, they don't want to grow anymore. They've been in the ground for at least 3 or 4 years. I give them blood meal, acidifying plant food, and aerate their roots every year. I also feed their roots with those hammer in type food pellets at the same time I aerate them. They all get new leaves and flowers, but they don't want to grow up; it's as if they've been bonzai'd. I was thinking of shooting them up with butyric acid, but I'd like to get expert advice before I try anything drastic.
Thanks in advance,
Randolph
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Hi,
I'm glad I found this group. I have 3 crepe myrtle, 1 Japanese elm, and 1 Saphire dragon that were in pots for years. Now that they are in the ground, they don't want to grow anymore. They've been in the ground for at least 3 or 4 years. I give them blood meal, acidifying plant food, and aerate their roots every year. I also feed their roots with those hammer in type food pellets at the same time I aerate them. They all get new leaves and flowers, but they don't want to grow up; it's as if they've been bonzai'd. I was thinking of shooting them up with butyric acid, but I'd like to get expert advice before I try anything drastic.
Thanks in advance,
Randolph
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Sounds to me like you're fussing over them too much. Did you check the soil's pH before fiddling with it? And, "aerating the roots" - HOW DID YOU DO THAT?
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I believe I started fussing over them too much when I noticed they weren't growing. I've always been meaning to get one of those soil pH kits. Outside of making my own compost, I'm just rough and tumble with my plants.
The hardware stores have a long metal tool wherein you attach your garden hose and it sucks air a la venturi, so you can insert the end into the ground to aerate the roots.
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

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So, in other words, you're throwing additives at the plants with absolutely no idea whether they're necessary or even harmful. Sorry to be blunt about this, but "rough & tumble" is the precise equivalent of "I don't care if they die". Go to google. Search for the words "cooperative extension" along with the name of your state. Go to the web site, find the phone number for the closest location, call and ask how they want soil samples packaged, and let them test samples from 2-3 locations. They'll do it cheap. It's their job. Tell them what you're trying to grow.

Whoever told you to do this.....set their hair on fire and push them into busy traffic.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Actually, I did look up on the web to try and find what they like. For instance, I found that crepe myrtle likes blood meal for the nitrogen.
I guess "rough and tumble" has different connotations for different people, I mean I don't treat them with all TLC, but thanks for the suggestion on the state coop ext.

Why do you say that? Please elaborate. Why would anyone put a tool on the market that's bad for plants? I've used the aeration tool on other trees and I believe they are very healthy because of it.
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Why put it on the market? To sell things. There are hundreds of silly garden tools available. The key to good aeration is preparing the planting hole well. And, if your plants are having problems, the last thing you want to do is introduce more variables, like disturbing the roots.
Go get the soil tested before you do anything else.
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I grow Crepe Myrtles without trying. My Crepe Myrtles grow children *everywhere* that we pot up and give away. They grow like weeds (not that I'm complaining) and all without the first bit of fertilizer/food. We prune every other year to keep the one closest to the house managable (under 30' tall) but the others we leave alone.
The youngest of them, 3 year old trees sprouted from the big/old tree, have grown from an approx. 8" single stem to huge, bushy, 6' tall trees that are prolific bloomers. I have single trunk Crepe Myrtles as well, ones I purchased in 15gal pots this spring, and while they don't bloom as prolifically they grow at a pretty fast rate and have larger blooms than the "wild" ones.
-- Tara
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Sorry, I should have said that I'm in zone 8 and while I don't know their variety names, my trees are mostly pale to medium pink with a hot pink, red, med. purple & Natchez white thrown in.
-- Tara
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HealingMindN wrote:

I cloned a bush last year, kept in house all winter, and put in ground in spring. Four little bushies still alive but have not grown at all. Same thing with a hydrangea 2 years ago. I'm wondering if left in pots inside over winter and not going dormant has caused problem. Frank
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HealingMindN wrote:

they are probably rootbound. That means the roots are going round and round from years in the pots and prevent proper growth. Cure: dig them up and give them a good root pruning so that they have a chance to spread properly in the future. do it in the fall before they go dormant.
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I believe I can do that with the crepe myrtles because they were in one gallon pots. The japanese elm and the saphire dragon were in 5 gallon pots. How would I dig up the bigger ones w/o shocking the roots? Thanks in Advance!
simy1 wrote:

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HealingMindN wrote:

you will shock the roots, no way around it, and lose maybe a season of growth. But later the plants will grow properly. don't be nice when you prune, what can be spread, you spread, what cannot be spread, you cut. There will be more cutting than you expect, perhaps 30-50% of root mass. Since they will get a shock regardless, you try to solve the problem once and for all. You may choose to prune the aerial parts to make the plant more resistant to winter and drought, or you can leave it as is and coddle it a bit with winter mulch and some irrigation next year until the plants recover in full.

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in
Did you tease out the roots when you planted them? If the plants were root bound or the roots were spiralling round as is quite possible if they were in post for years then they will not grow at all well, ever.
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I massaged the roots in the crepe myrtles by hand; they were in 1 gallon pots, so that was easy. I just walked on the roots of the sapphire dragon and the japanese elm because they were so big and heavy. I assume that my job was not good enough because they are all stunted. Too little teasing, too late.
Farm1 wrote:

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