Sequoiadendron soil replacement

Hi all,

I have a giant sequoia that I started from seed in general purpose potting soil some years ago (long before I had any idea what I was doing). I’ve hesitated from swapping out the soil on this one as I’ve heard bare-rooting can do some vicious things to this species. The tree is now 82cm tall and I’m eyeing it as a potential subject. But I really, really need to get it in something that drains better this next spring (I’m eyeing a pumice/grit mix). So, I wanted to poll some opinions on a pair of questions:

  1. Has anyone successfully changed out nursery soil/sub-optimal soil from a giant sequoia?
  2. How do you handle the difference in drainage when only bare rooting half of the root ball? Do you treat the old soil portion as a separate tree, on a separate watering schedule from the new soil to prevent from overwatering?

Many thanks for any insights!

You’re right to be cautious about bare rooting any conifers. Young trees, however, are far more resilient than older trees to soil disruptions. Am curious how old the tree is. (photo?)

Thanks for the reply!

The tree is just under three years old (germinated early February of 2013). They have phenomenal growth rates! I’ll try to get a picture loaded soon, it’s a bit dark at the moment for good photography.

For such a young tree I wouldn’t use the 50/50 approach. I’d see how much soil falls away when I remove the tree from the container and go from there.

If you’re working on making the trunk bigger, you want as much growth as possible so I don’t expect there to be very much root work. That said, now’s the time to correct major root defects, ideally by rearranging roots and not by cutting.

The 50/50 approach works best for trees with developed root balls.