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How to dry-root trees!


This Sunday’s project was to “dry-root” my container trees into larger containers. I have no idea why the process is called “dry-rooting” because it’s anything BUT that! {chuckle} Pictured below is the system of containers that I use for the process:

Left to right is 2 gallons of water, Garret Juice organic plant food, the tree to be planted, and the pot that it will be planted into. Pictured below is the little tree that has outgrown its’ container. It is in great condition despite the small pot that it has been in for the last year and a half:

The first step is to pour 2 oz. of the Garret Juice concentrate into the 2 gallons of water and stir thoroughly. The compost tea element turns the water a brown color:

Next, I have removed the tree from its’ container and shook some of the dirt into the new container to fill the first couple of inches and cleaned as much soil from the roots as possible.

The next step is to immerse the tree’s root ball into the root stimulator mixture in the bucket for about 10 minutes to feed the roots and help loosen some of the remaining soil:

This little root system is one happy camper right now!

While the little tree is soaking, I start preparing a super rich organic potting soil mixture starting with some rich “Erath Earth” NON peat moss soil. This stuff is GREAT! BTW, peat moss DOES NOT support biological soil activity and should only be used for storing bulbs over the winter! I use another container to mix the organic “secret formula” mix.

Pictured below is the “Erath Earth” potting soil topped with a few handfuls of “Texas Green Sand” and “Lava Sand”. The paramagnetic properties of these volcanic sands greatly enhance the natural biological activity in any soil:

The next step is to add a couple of handfuls of “Expanded Shale” to the mix. Expanded Shale is an amendment that loosens the soil and also retains moisture due to its’ great surface area:

As you run your hands through this soil mixture in the mixing process, the sands and rock materials give it a real loose and fertile feel. It is quite amazing.
The mixture will look like this:

Now I go back to my little tree that has been soaking and work the roots by hand to loosen the remaining soil. I gently unwrap any circling and girdling roots and unwrap the root system as wide as possible.

When the little guy comes out of the root stimulator mixture, it has a nice loose root structure that is fully exposed:

It is then placed in it’s new home and free roots are spread out as wide as possible:

I then poured the organic mixture that I had prepared earlier into the new pot and made sure that the little tree’s “root flair” was fully exposed as you can see here. It had been planted WAY too deep in its’ last container:

Here is the final result before the watering process.. The little guy looks pretty happy:

So, where did the water come from? Remember the bucket that it was soaking in? That bucket had native dirt plus the great “Garret Juice” mix in it and I drenched the new container with the left over “soaking mix” because it contained everything that the little tree was used to. It’s a great way to “inoculate” the newly planted tree from local parasites! {grin} :

I’m not sure if this technique works on all potted plants because I have not tested it yet, but it works on trees and “woody shrubs” like gangbusters and you will see amazing growth after just a few days! It is also a great method for planting new trees. Just prepare the tree’s “planting area” with the same organic amendments, follow the above steps, and it’ll be a happy camper regardless of size! ;-)

WHEW! This blog wore me out.. :-)

More blog posts by n2organics

Previous post: Update on my little container tree!

Next post: Two days after the "dry root" test!



Very interesting blog N2Organics, and the pictures were great and instructions clear too. I shall bear all this in mind come any of my trees/shrubs need redoing. lol the blog is tireing as you are having to use your brain more on the pc, it is best to place all pictures to be used into a seperate folder, then if they are jumbled up with other photo s you don't have to search for them.

31 Aug, 2009


Container plant growers will have great results using this technique. All of my potted plants have been grown from seed, then "dry rooted" into larger pots using this method.
Seems to work rather well! {chuckle} The key to the process is using organic amendments that enhance the biological activity in the soil. Once the soil is in balance, ANY plant will thrive, grow like crazy, and resist native parasites.
It's pretty cool to watch.. ;-)

31 Aug, 2009


What a great blog.

I've seen and read similar things done over here.

I think it's easy for people to forget that container grown plants need freshening-up regularly and benefit hugely from it.

31 Aug, 2009


great blog N2. i 'm sure when i pot plants into bigger pots they seem to look happier right away....

31 Aug, 2009


Of course they do, Sandra! What happens when you up-pot any plant is that you give the root system a little more "elbow room" and the roots can spread a little.. Once the roots of any plant start to circle, the plant will often go into a distress state because the circling roots will encroach on the main growth and act like a tourniquet, cutting off the supply of nutrients to the upper areas. That is the beauty of "dry rooting" any transplants. Just don't forget to feed the little guys with a splash of their original soil {actually mud}
That will inoculate the soil from local parasites. :-)

1 Sep, 2009

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