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Date: 16 Jun 2019, Entry id: 1560690662-1

Repotting Artocarpus with a taproot in ground

Q: The Chempedak I bought from you almost 3 years ago which I had repotted twice has a thick taproot growing in the ground, which I noticed this past winter. I was going to repot into the largest size pot almost half of a 55-g rain barrel. Can I try to dig/save as much of the taproot before repotting, will it die if I had to shorten/cut what I can't dig out completely? I hate to put it in the ground for fear it may not make it when we have severe cold/long hours of frost. I live in west Cocoa, Central Florida, 9b.

A: Yes, you can repot the tree and keep it in reasonable size container after trimming the roots. Most of the tropical trees (fruit trees not an exception) can be grown in containers even if in Nature they grow into vigorous large trees. The key is, trim the roots every time you transplant it. The process is similar to trimming branches and both don't hurt the plant as long as done right and moderately. You should trim the overgrown and spreading limbs at the same time. You may trim as much as 10% off root system at the time of repotting. This will cause the root system to branch out and become fuller, similar to branches, which is a good thing. If a tree grows a taproot like in your case, it is not necessary to try "saving" and digging out the whole root that may go down for a few feet. You may cut it off without major damage to the tree since the rest of its root system will continue to support the plant metabolism. Just keep in mind that the plant will be stressed for a while - so put it in bright shade and water regularly until signs of stress go away (wilted or dropping leaves may occur). This particular type of tree - Artocarpus - is pretty strong and vigorous so the stress should be minimal.