The best time to prune roots is in the late winter when they’re dormant. Pruning during the dormant season is ideal since:
Is Root Pruning Trees and Shrubs a Viable Option?
When a tree is dug for transplanting, typically the part of the roots taken, the root ball, is only the perimeter of the drip line, at times even less. Since the shrub or tree is relying on the root ball for most of its water and nutrients, it requires lots of feeder roots to continue to maintain itself during the jolt of being uprooted.
To boost the development of feeder roots nearer to the drip line, root pruning, slicing off the long anchor roots, is performed.
How to Root Prune
Root pruning entails cutting the roots (at the drip line) entirely around the entire tree's circumference. This can be performed by slicing downward all around with a sharp spade.
The bigger the remaining root ball, the more feeder roots you will have and the better likelihood the shrub or tree will successfully transplant. On the other hand, big root balls are quite heavy. This is never a project for one person. For huge trees, you might need to call in a tree care expert.
Root pruning is also helpful when potted plants have grown bigger than their container, and you don’t want to transport them to a larger one. Pruning the roots back and repotting with some new soil will keep your plants’ development in on point.
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