Updated: Sep 4
Plus How To Repot A Plant
Sunday 2 August 2020 is National Tree Day (July 31 for schools), a day designed to connect you with nature by planting trees and shrubs to help improve our natural environment. Established in 1996 by Planet Ark & Olivia Newton-John, National Tree Day has grown to be Australia's largest community tree planting and nature care event. The program is a way for people to give back to the community. Unfortunately this year all public events have been canceled due to Covid-19. Although there will be no group plantings, you can still plant in your own home. Find out more at treeday.planetark.org
If planting is not for you you could always make a donation to the National Tree Day Seed Bank where donations are turned in to grants, which are used to purchase seedlings from local nurseries to be planted. You can donate to the seed bank here.
How To Repot A Plant
This year instead of planting a new tree, I decided to save an existing tree. This poor mapel was up for adoption by the side of the road in my neighborhood. Its soil was getting low it's probably getting a bit root bound, and it had grass and other things growing inside the pot.
Winter is a suitable time to re pot a maple tree. Not all plants are suitable at this time of year, so just check before you disrupt the roots of your plants. A citrus plant will never forgive you if you plant it in the ground during winter, and “sulk” for the rest of its life. It's also not the right time to prune a maple tree as the cuts will produce excess sap, so pruning can be done in early spring.
Repotting a plant doesn't necessarily mean changing the pot, it's more about the soil. New soil means new nutrients. A plant is only as healthy as the soil it's in. If changing the pot keep the size increase to less than 7cm for table top planters and less than 15cm for floor planter. When a plant is moved to a larger pot you can be inclined to water more, but a small plant in a large pot with lots of soil and overwatering can lead to killing with kindness and probably root rot too.
How to know when it's time to repot your plant
A plant usually needs to be repotted every 12 to 18 months. One or more of these signs will let you know your plant is ready to repot.
Roots are growing out through the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter.
Roots are pushing the plant up out of the planter
The plant dries out more quickly than usual
Noticeable salt and mineral buildup on the plant or planter.
What you will need.
Pot (new or old)
Garden Soil or Potting Mix
The first thing you want to do is place your plant outside in an area that you don’t mind excess soil landing on. You then want to soak the plant with water in the pot to loosen the soil so pulling the plant out is easier. Depending on the condition of the plant you may want to leave it soaking in water for some time. When you pull on the plant and it moves away from the pot it's ready to come out. Pull the plant out of the pot and place it on the ground.
You then want to wash away all the soil so you can see the full extent of the roots, and any root bounding that has occurred.
It may take a little bit of time to wash away all the soil.
Cut away any roots that start to go round in a circle, and any root that are very long.
Once the roots are taken care of you can put your plant back into a pot. Half fill the pot with soil and place you plant on top to check the soil depth. You want the base of your plant to be under the top of the pot. Some pots will have an internal fill line you know how far up to fill the soil to.
If you need to add a bit more soil into the pot before placing the plant in, and then add soil to cover the roots. Make sure you don’t cover the base of the trunk. If the base of the truck gets covered it can stay moist, which leads to fungal and bacterial growth which can then kill your plant.
It's now time to give your plant a drink. So give it some water and you are all done.
As this mapel is in its dormant state I am yet to identify which species it is. It is most likely a Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). Maples are early spring flowers which are good for bees as they do provide some pollen and nectar.
If you decide to plant a tree this National Tree Day, some Australian Natives that native bees love are:
Just keep in mind how big some trees can grow, and make sure you pick one the right size for the area it is to be planted in.