Utilizing Small Colanders

I found a store which had small colanders in stock, so I ended up purchasing twelve of them in preparation for repotting this Spring. Now is the time to put these colanders into good use. I had some Japanese Quince cuttings growing in a pot along with a few Shimpaku Junipers cuttings for two years now. Since they’ve survived two winters, I’m pretty sure they have some roots and are viable. Transferring them to colanders will help them further develop finer roots to support more vigorous growth.

When I pulled the plants from the pot, there was a big mass of Japanese Quince roots. It is to be expected that deciduous trees tend to put out roots more readily than conifers. The challenge was to separate out the Shimpaku cuttings from the root mass without damaging the Shimpaku roots.  After an extended period of teasing and combing out roots, I was able to separate the six Quinces from the Shimpakus. I cut back the Quince roots heavily to promote more fine roots growth. I largely left the Shimpaku roots intact, with the exception of cutting short a few running roots, to try to balance the thickness of the roots (or else the running roots will significantly thicken in the expense of the other roots). All the Shimpakus fit comfortably into a single colander. Since Shimpakus roots tend to grow slowly, I’m not too concerned that they’ll be too intermingled.

I also had another Japanese Quince which seemed too over-potted into a big colander. Also, it was potted in the crappy potting medium I had last Spring which tend to breakdown quickly and saturate the pot. So I decided to repot it as well, it now looks more inline with the size of the colander.


The two years old Japanese black pine (JBP) seedlings have also started moving as their candles extend. I figured I’ll pick a few to repot into the colanders to see how they respond in comparison to the other JBPs which remained in their nursery pots. The most vigorous JBP looks to be a year or two ahead of its cohort, so I started with it first.  Indeed, it had a very healthy root system, but the roots are somewhat tangled, it’s timely that I decided to repot them now, or else the roots would have gotten too thick to reshape.  With some wetting of the roots, and some persuading, I was able to rearrange the roots into a radial form around the trunk. Hopefully, in a few years time, they would develop into a nice radial nebari.  I saw some books that suggests tying the roots down to a rock would force the roots to grown sideways rather than down. So I decided to tie the roots to a ceramic dish, but I quickly found out that strings are really difficult to maneuver, especially around a round dish.  So, I decided to use wire instead.  Just one piece of wire is sufficient to hold the tree down against the dish.  I just need to ensure that I cut the wires as the trunk thickens.

All in all, I repotted three JBPs. As I go from the most vigorous to the least, I began to noticed that there are substantially less roots as well. The other remaining JBPs will have to wait till next year before they’re ready to be repotted into colanders. For the second JBP onwards, I didn’t even bother with the string, and just went directly with using the wire to secure the tree to the dish. After securing the tree into the dish, then it’s just a matter of tying down the combo into the pot the old fashion way, using the cork screw method to secure it all down. I purposely left the wire ends longer, such that they can help hold down the dangling roots. These JBPs will be resting under shade for a week, before they’re reintroduced to the sun.

Poor Little Japanese Quince

Last fall I potted a Japanese Quince cutting into the front yard, hoping it will grow faster. Unfortunately, a rabid rabbit keep nibbling at it. As a result, it didn’t have much of a chance to grow last year. I was somewhat surprised that it survived the winter given the weakened state it was in. This year I would give it some protection, and pot it back into a pot, such that it can remain in the safety of my backyard.

Japanese Quince Repotted

It still haven’t grown as much as last year, but hopefully as the weather gets warmer, it’ll take off.

Japanese Quince Styled

Last year I repotted the Japanese Quince into a colander, and let it grow wild for a year. It put out a lot of new growth. This year, I decided to heavily prune it, and begin styling the tree. The tree started with looking very overgrown.

Quince Before Styling

Since this quince is very vigorous, I pruned it back heavily.

Quince After Styling

The goal is to push all the energy into the tree growing in the middle, while the other side branches shall remain short.

Quince After Repot

Since this will be a clump style, they look best in a shallow pot. I ended up putting it into this very shallow pot. Notably, this pot isn’t very attractive. I can certainly repot it into a more attractive pot if I ever come across one.

Flowering Japanese Quince

When I repotted the Japanese Quince a few weeks back, I pruned and also removed many of the flower buds such that energy can be conserved. I left a few flower buds along one trunk to see what the flowers look like. The little jewels took a week or two to swell up, and then opened up.

Japanese Quince Flowers

In future years, when the tree has gone through less torment, I might decide to leave the floor buds on, to see what it looks like in full bloom. On the other hand, I don’t want it to zap so much energy from the tree that it hinder the tree’s development. Decisions, decisions.

Japanese Quince Flowers


Spring Pruning Means More Cuttings

Spring time is when trees awaken, and leaves begin to pop. It’s also the opportunity to identify which branch survived the harsh winter. After trimming the Japanese Quince and the Crab Apple trees. I quickly grabbed a pot and made cuttings out of the branches.

The Japanese Quince tends to be less resistant to sun, a few cuttings quickly dried up when I exposed them to full sun. The lesson learned is to keep fresh cuttings under shade until they develop some roots. I hope at least some of them would take root, such that I can develop some more Japanese Quinces in the future. I really like their small leaves, and big red flowers.

Japanese Quince Cuttings

Crab Apple cuttings seems to do much better as cuttings. They are coming along nicely in full sun.

Crab Apple Cuttings



Initial Styling Japanese Quince

I bought this Japanese Quince close to end of season last year. Therefore, I didn’t do anything to the tree. I merely buried it in the ground to overwinter. Now that the Japanese Quince is out of the ground, and some leave buds were forming, I decided to repot and perform some initial styling on the tree.

When I took the tree out of the nursery pot, I noticed that it had a lot of long roots down at the bottom of the pot. Notably, there wasn’t much roots close to the surface. I still went ahead and reduced the roots. Taking a bet here that that tree would be able to recover from the root pruning. When potting the tree in the colander, I meticulously arranged the roots in a radial manner.

Quince are naturally multi-trunk. I kept the tree as a multi-trunk style. I did however took out one trunk which didn’t fit the composition. I continued to arrange the trunks such that they do not overlap one another (this ensures all branches get sufficient sunlight).

The tree now rests under the table. It will remain down there for the next 3-4 weeks as it recovers. For the time being, I placed a hay-knitted mulch pad on top of the soil to ensure it maintains moisture. Now all I can do is wait for it to recover (or die).

Japanese Quince Initial Styling

Japanese Quince

Stopped by at a local nursery today and looked at what was there. Because it’s still not autumn yet, there are no tree sales to be had. While crawling around, I found a Japanese Quince that seems to be around the nursery for some years now (the tag’s colors are faded, and the tree has been pruned).

Japanese Quince Name Tag

I’ll just bring it home and grow it in the pot until autumn comes, where I’ll train some of the branches. I won’t be doing any pruning or re-potting until next spring. The prime objective will be to keep it alive till next spring.

Japanese Quince

Before purchasing the plant, I did some digging around its root ball. I noticed that it has a pretty big root ball.

Root of Japanese Quince

When it comes to repotting next spring, I’ll find out how big the root ball really is. As a bonus, I’ve noticed that there’s a small Japanese Quince Seedling on the side of the pot.

Japanese Quince Seedling

I rather not disturb it now, and wait till it develop a better root system. Similar to the parent tree, I’ll repot it next spring. By that time I should be able to grow it in an individual pot.