Prune or trim roots Question?

Anything relating to Cacti or CactiGuide.com that doesn't fit in another category should be posted under General.
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

Someone in Thailand he has a cactus farm told me I should “trim” the roots of my new cacti. See image below.

I am new at this and I guess the fact I am just asking this Question means I am not sure about if I should or shouldn’t trim the roots before potting them Wednesday?

Thank you 🙏🏽

All but 2 if these 8 new plants have flowers.
9BB358D3-7FEF-41E3-A0E1-85D103B34AF0.jpeg
9BB358D3-7FEF-41E3-A0E1-85D103B34AF0.jpeg (284.68 KiB) Viewed 478 times
Attachments
8DA8C18B-1F8C-4DA8-82CA-FDFC010FBC6B.jpeg
8DA8C18B-1F8C-4DA8-82CA-FDFC010FBC6B.jpeg (331.03 KiB) Viewed 478 times
DAACA7D5-C691-47C6-911A-4C339BD55546.jpeg
DAACA7D5-C691-47C6-911A-4C339BD55546.jpeg (70.37 KiB) Viewed 478 times
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
User avatar
Aeonium2003
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2021 2:53 am
Location: Central California

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Aeonium2003 »

I have no idea why anyone would do that. It would leave an open wound for pathogens to get in, and might cause rot.
User avatar
Steve Johnson
Posts: 3726
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:44 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Steve Johnson »

Only reason for trimming the roots is if you clean them and some of the roots are obviously dead. Unfortunately the difference between dead and alive may not be obvious to new growers, although it's a bit easier to tell in the growing season.

Joe, it looks like the roots of your new cacti should be cleaned more thoroughly, so I'll recommend that you follow the steps I described here:

https://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewto ... 45#p394245

About 10 years ago, I lost a few wonderful cacti precisely because I failed to "deep-clean" the roots as I should've -- another hard lesson learned, and I've found that it's definitely worth taking the time to be thorough about the cleaning process.
If you just want photos without all the blather, please visit my Flickr gallery.
My location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

Steve Johnson wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 2:47 am Only reason for trimming the roots is if you clean them and some of the roots are obviously dead. Unfortunately the difference between dead and alive may not be obvious to new growers, although it's a bit easier to tell in the growing season.

Joe, it looks like the roots of your new cacti should be cleaned more thoroughly, so I'll recommend that you follow the steps I described here:

https://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewto ... 45#p394245

About 10 years ago, I lost a few wonderful cacti precisely because I failed to "deep-clean" the roots as I should've -- another hard lesson learned, and I've found that it's definitely worth taking the time to be thorough about the cleaning process.
Thank you Steve I will do that tomorrow morning.
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

Steve Johnson wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 2:47 am Only reason for trimming the roots is if you clean them and some of the roots are obviously dead. Unfortunately the difference between dead and alive may not be obvious to new growers, although it's a bit easier to tell in the growing season.

Joe, it looks like the roots of your new cacti should be cleaned more thoroughly, so I'll recommend that you follow the steps I described here:

https://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewto ... 45#p394245

About 10 years ago, I lost a few wonderful cacti precisely because I failed to "deep-clean" the roots as I should've -- another hard lesson learned, and I've found that it's definitely worth taking the time to be thorough about the cleaning process.
Steve Question? You say “When you're satisfied with the cleanliness of the roots, soak them in 1% Hydrogen peroxide for a half hour or so.”

You diluting the hydrogen peroxide Steve? Or just using the hole bottle? You can see two of my new cacti are pretty large I will need a big bucket and need to buy many bottles If not diluted. How about pouring the hydrogen peroxide?

Thank you this great advice Steve. I will wash clean them properly this time.
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
User avatar
greenknight
Posts: 4540
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:18 am
Location: SW Washington State zone 8b

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by greenknight »

Commercial nurseries commonly trim the roots of all kinds of plants during transplanting, it makes it faster and easier to pot them. If you're not doing mass production, there's no reason to do that in most cases. Sometimes a plant may have been really root bound, with roots circling the pot that are a mile long when you untangle them - those you might need to trim. You've got nothing like that here.

I agree that most of them need to be cleaned better. Sometimes you can't just blast all the old mix off with a hose, you might need to break up some lumps. Chopstick, or something similar, are helpful for getting in between the roots.
Spence :mrgreen:
User avatar
Steve Johnson
Posts: 3726
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:44 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Steve Johnson »

JCcares wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 3:14 amSteve Question? You say “When you're satisfied with the cleanliness of the roots, soak them in 1% Hydrogen peroxide for a half hour or so.”

You diluting the hydrogen peroxide Steve? Or just using the hole bottle? You can see two of my new cacti are pretty large I will need a big bucket and need to buy many bottles If not diluted. How about pouring the hydrogen peroxide?
The peroxide we get at grocery stores and pharmacies is 3% -- dilution is 1 part peroxide to 2 parts water, and that'll give you 1%. Soak the roots only, not the entire plant. By the way -- don''t worry if you're diluting the peroxide with hard water coming from the tap. Regular watering with hard water is much more of a problem, and I found an excellent way to solve it:

https://www.cactiguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=43525

I don't know if you want to go that far, and if you have a reverse osmosis (RO) water filter system or you can store enough rainwater to water your collection in the growing season, you won't need to acidify. (Buying distilled water at the store is another option, but only if it doesn't put a crimp in your budget.)
JCcares wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 3:14 amThank you this great advice Steve. I will wash clean them properly this time.
You're welcome -- glad I could help! :)
If you just want photos without all the blather, please visit my Flickr gallery.
My location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)
User avatar
Steve Johnson
Posts: 3726
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:44 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Steve Johnson »

One more thing while I'm thinking of it, Joe...

Whenever desert cacti get watered, they don't like having "wet feet" all the time, so it's best to let their roots dry out in the pot before they're watered again. Of course we can't dig them up every time to find out if the roots are dry, so there are a few options...
  • Weigh the pots by hand and get a feel for the difference between wet and dry mix in the pot. Some growers have a talent for it, but truth be told, I don't, so I have to go with option #2...
  • Put together a watering schedule based on your understanding of how often the cacti should get watered in the growing season, and follow the schedule. My default recommendation is every two weeks, although I have a schedule that varies quite a bit according to my experience with the diversity of species I grow, as well as their different watering needs in spring and summer. Also bear in mind that your local climate isn't the same as mine, so you'll need to take that into consideration.
  • Option #3 -- when cacti are nice and plump after watering, notice the difference between that and when they get a bit thirsty. If your powers of observation are good, you'll know what "thirsty" looks like once you gain more experience with your plants.
Whenever cacti are repotted, it takes time for them to establish and let their root systems start growing. New growers tend to water more often than they should anyway, so there's a rule of thumb I learned from an expert grower many years ago -- when in doubt, don't water.
If you just want photos without all the blather, please visit my Flickr gallery.
My location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

Steve Johnson wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 5:42 am One more thing while I'm thinking of it, Joe...

Whenever desert cacti get watered, they don't like having "wet feet" all the time, so it's best to let their roots dry out in the pot before they're watered again. Of course we can't dig them up every time to find out if the roots are dry, so there are a few options...
  • Weigh the pots by hand and get a feel for the difference between wet and dry mix in the pot. Some growers have a talent for it, but truth be told, I don't, so I have to go with option #2...
  • Put together a watering schedule based on your understanding of how often the cacti should get watered in the growing season, and follow the schedule. My default recommendation is every two weeks, although I have a schedule that varies quite a bit according to my experience with the diversity of species I grow, as well as their different watering needs in spring and summer. Also bear in mind that your local climate isn't the same as mine, so you'll need to take that into consideration.
  • Option #3 -- when cacti are nice and plump after watering, notice the difference between that and when they get a bit thirsty. If your powers of observation are good, you'll know what "thirsty" looks like once you gain more experience with your plants.
Whenever cacti are repotted, it takes time for them to establish and let their root systems start growing. New growers tend to water more often than they should anyway, so there's a rule of thumb I learned from an expert grower many years ago -- when in doubt, don't water.
Steve your a breath of fresh air!!! Thank you so very much for all this doing it right the first time.
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
User avatar
Steve Johnson
Posts: 3726
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:44 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Steve Johnson »

JCcares wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 6:53 amSteve your a breath of fresh air!!! Thank you so very much for all this doing it right the first time.
You're welcome, and happy growing! :D
If you just want photos without all the blather, please visit my Flickr gallery.
My location: Los Angeles, CA (Zone 10b)
DaveW
Posts: 7075
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:36 pm
Location: Nottingham, England/UK

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by DaveW »

As with garden plants they used to advocate trimming any broken root ends since a clean cut straight across exposed less tissue to pathogens than a ragged tear. However unless it is to fit it into a container there is no real point in cutting healthy roots. If you do trim allow time for roots to heal being left dry root before re-potting. I usually dip any cut roots in sulphur, but rooting compound will do as well, or even just air drying.
Download
Posts: 187
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:22 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by Download »

I'm going to disagree with the general view here.

When you trim roots, it triggers a plant response to grow new roots. This is important as before depotting, the plant's roots are evenly distributed through the soil. But once you repot the plant, it's basically impossible to evenly distribute the roots, and then are instead clumped together in some manner.

So, by trimming the roots, the plant will expend energy growing new roots that are well distributed. This allows for better absorption of water and uptake of nutrients, and better mechanical support of the plant.

That said, I don't normally trim roots, and instead prefer to aggressively remove old soil which does the same thing.
User avatar
greenknight
Posts: 4540
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:18 am
Location: SW Washington State zone 8b

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by greenknight »

<snip>
Download wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:16 am That said, I don't normally trim roots, and instead prefer to aggressively remove old soil which does the same thing.
I agree. I should have explained that there's no need to worry about losing a few roots in the cleaning process - it's inevitable, and the lost roots will be quickly replaced.
Spence :mrgreen:
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

DaveW wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 9:02 am As with garden plants they used to advocate trimming any broken root ends since a clean cut straight across exposed less tissue to pathogens than a ragged tear. However unless it is to fit it into a container there is no real point in cutting healthy roots. If you do trim allow time for roots to heal being left dry root before re-potting. I usually dip any cut roots in sulphur, but rooting compound will do as well, or even just air drying.
Thank you Dave
Question
“ If you do trim allow time for roots to heal being left dry root before re-potting.”. How long would that be sir?

Thank you again!
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
User avatar
JCcares
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed May 18, 2022 1:21 am
Location: NC USA

Re: Prune or trim roots Question?

Post by JCcares »

Download wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 10:16 am I'm going to disagree with the general view here.

When you trim roots, it triggers a plant response to grow new roots. This is important as before depotting, the plant's roots are evenly distributed through the soil. But once you repot the plant, it's basically impossible to evenly distribute the roots, and then are instead clumped together in some manner.

So, by trimming the roots, the plant will expend energy growing new roots that are well distributed. This allows for better absorption of water and uptake of nutrients, and better mechanical support of the plant.

That said, I don't normally trim roots, and instead prefer to aggressively remove old soil which does the same thing.
Thank you Download 🙏🏽

Teach me tell me will so long long roots not trimmed how do you want to place them in the new pot? Is there a best placement for them? Thank you VERY very much!!! I am new at this and kinda of a perfectionist.
My name is Joe I Live in Hickory NC USA four equal perfect seasons.
Post Reply