Tag Archives: Roots

Nitrogen-fixing and bonsai

You’ve probably heard the term ‘nitrogen-fixing’ – it means extracting nitrogen from the air. Which doesn’t seem like it should be too difficult, since nitrogen makes up 78% of airref, but in reality plants can’t use gaseous nitrogen. In nature (ie. where nitrogen is not added artificially as fertiliser) plants mostly rely on microorganisms to […] Read more… >

Live Veins on Bonsai – do they exist?

Most bonsai enthusiasts will have come across the term ‘live veins’ in the context of bonsai. Live veins are areas of living bark surrounded by deadwood. They are often seen on juniper bonsai, where a section of bark twists around the tree in a dramatic contrast to the white deadwood (Sierra juniper are particularly amazing). […] Read more… >

Choosing a pot

Of course your choice of pot has a lot to do with the aesthetic vision you have for your tree, and I’m certainly not going to get into a debate about ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ trees and pots (hint – I’m not a fan of gendered bonsai!) Or glazed/unglazed (etc). The pot for your bonsai is […] Read more… >

Root Food Storage (or, can I root prune before bud break?)

One piece of advice often given to bonsai enthusiasts is that root pruning should be avoided until bud break – usually the advice says you should wait until the buds are just about to burst and then you can repot to your heart’s content. But is there any scientific basis to this? The rationale for […] Read more… >

Ramification of Roots (lateral root development)

Lateral roots are ones which branch off from the main root – just like lateral or axillary buds aboveground. Lateral root development is how roots branch and ramify – similarly to stems, which ramify through bud initiation and stem growth. Encouraging strong lateral root development is a goal in bonsai, because we want to create […] Read more… >

When do roots grow?

Europeans have rather a binary view of when plants grow and when they don’t – growth in spring and summer, and none in winter. Deciduous trees give this impression, but as someone who did not grow up in Europe, I never had a sense that there were such specific times of growth – all around […] Read more… >

Root structure and architecture

So we know what roots achieve for a tree, but how are they structured? To start with tree roots are either woody or non-woody. Woody roots have undergone secondary thickening and are long-lived, like the trunk and branches, and provide the structural framework for the tree.ref The ‘root collar’ is the area on the tree’s […] Read more… >

Root Exudates

I had never heard of root exudates before creating this website, but in fact their production is so important to plants that they “invest up to 20–40% of their photosynthetically fixed C”ref in this process. Root exudates are basically substances created by root cells and sent out into the nearby environment – known as the […] Read more… >