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Roots gone amuck

This is a discussion on Roots gone amuck within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; In another thread I asked about pot-bound plants and mentioned I was going to repot ...

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  1. #1
    RSJ
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    Question Roots gone amuck

    In another thread I asked about pot-bound plants and mentioned I was going to repot a Wils. Islers Farbspiel which is in a growth phase. Took it out of the pot for the first time today and OMG! Here's the pix...no, that's not a lovely decorative rafia basket it's the roots.



    This plant is going into s/h, so how much of the roots can I lose without major problems? It's obviously been in it's 5" pot a long time, can't even get the nasty little styro peanuts out without tearing/cutting roots and there's decomposed moss in the center.

    I didn't want to divide this plant, I wanted to let it become nice and beefy. but may have to pull it apart just to get out the old medium??
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  2. #2
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    Wow! Same thing here...this morning I was checking the roots of my mtssa, and ! Looks exactly like roots in your pictures--a great big mass of tangled roots without a speck of soil. I had trouble dealing with orchids with none or too little roots, but the opposite?

    With so many roots, I can't imagine how to repot it (correctly) without damaging some of the roots. Well, try your best to get the old medium out...some roots may be hurt, but it's better than having the old medium spoil and cause rots.

  3. #3
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    Oh. My. God. :-)

  4. #4
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    since youre going to repot the plant in s/h, youre going to lose the majority of those roots anyway. some people even cut off most of their old roots before they plop their plants in s/h because they die in the s/h medium. thats why they tell you to repot into s/h (or any other medium) only when new roots are forming -- so that the new roots will be acclimated to being in s/h and not bark, chc, etc.

    you definitely want to get all of that old medium out. it will contribute to rot in s/h. since clay aggregate is inert, theres no rotting unless you leave that organic material in there.

    so steel your heart (its always sickening to cut perfectly good orchid growth), get chopping, and happy s/h-ing!

    hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    I'd cut off the lowest inch of that rootmass, and then try to get all the old media out, along with any roots that are rotten or now detached. The plant will make new roots. That's how I repot cyms, which falls somewhere between root canal and holiday call.

  6. #6
    RSJ
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    Default dirty deed is done

    That's how I repot cyms, which falls somewhere between root canal and holiday call.
    LOL! Well, hours and hours later the root canal is done but I wouldn't pay me to be a dentist! I have trimmed the roots quite a lot, gotten "almost all" of the old medium out (without cutting up the center of the plant, there was some I just couldn't get). Fingers crossed. I will flush the pot well when I water so that any rotting stuff gets flushed as the old roots give way to new.

    No way this guy isn't going to suffer some shock. But it's pretty darn healthy at this point and so I'm counting on it's assertive nature to bring it through.

    RSJ

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    Do be careful about any bark you've left in the middle. I know it's a pain, but putting it into s/h with the bark still there could lead to problems, so they say. I find that sometimes gradually wedging my fingers up from the bottom, kind of wiggling them back and forth, slowly gets me to the point were I can reach some of he bark trapped in the middle. Also, tweezers are a great help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOHNnDC
    Do be careful about any bark you've left in the middle. I know it's a pain, but putting it into s/h with the bark still there could lead to problems, so they say. I find that sometimes gradually wedging my fingers up from the bottom, kind of wiggling them back and forth, slowly gets me to the point were I can reach some of he bark trapped in the middle. Also, tweezers are a great help.
    My method as well.I also soak the plant for 15 mins in warm water to help make the roots more supple.

  9. #9
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    when you use s/h, you really want to get rid of all that organic material. bark, CHC, sphag, whatever. otherwise it will all rot in due time. a few bark pieces aren't gonna harm the plant, but make sure that the vast majority of it is out.

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