My friend has a potted plant -- she doesn't know the name but says it's more
like a shrub than a plant -- which seems to be doing poorly.
I thought it might be root-bound in a too-small container.
What are the best steps to removing the plant, pruning the roots, and
Also, will pruning from the top tend to keep the rootball smaller?
Just my opinion, but if someone hasn't got the skills to find a library book
with pictures and identify a plant, they don't have the skills for root
pruning. Keep it simple for now.
Since the plant is in a pot, maybe your friend could take it to a
nursery for identification.
If it's herbacious (not woody), try taking a cutting from a shoot. If
the cutting succeeds, use it to replace the "parent" plant, which can
then be discarded.
If it's woody and the pot is less than 12 inches in diameter, repot in a
larger pot. If it's woody and the pot is at least 12 inches, remove the
plant from the pot. Use a sharp paring knife to shave about 1/2 to 1
inch of soil and roots all the way around and at the bottom. Place back
into the pot with fresh potting mix to replace what was removed. For
potting mix, see my
<http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . Trim the top to
reduce the demand on the taumatized roots.
In any case, trimming the top will NOT reduce the growth of roots. It
will reduce the demand on constrained roots to supply moisture and
nutrients to the foliage. Eventually, however, the plant will need to
be root-pruned, repotted in a larger pot, or replaced.
Keep it simple! Buy a bigger pot, remove the plant from the old one,
tease out ( gently ) any roots which have started growing back into the
mass, get some fresh compost in the new pot,put the plant in and water
well. After a check in growth to start with it should recover well if
the environment is right.
Root pruning is not a good idea - you end up with all the short fat
roots, and the fine hair-like roots which you chop off are the ones
which process the water and nutrients most efficiently.
Take a couple of cuttings as an insurance policy.
Regards from UK
David E. Ross wrote:
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