Saturday, 24 August 2019

Two Weeks Without Drainage

I can't believe it's been four months since my last post.

Okay, I guess the fact that it's winter in South Africa counts as an excuse of sorts because I haven't been working on my trees that much. Not even the last couple of weeks when I should have been busy repotting them as spring is definitely in the air. Unfortunately I've repotted very few, partly due to the fact that procrastination is one of my big weaknesses, but technology problems have played a big part too. I was unwilling to get my hands dirty while waiting for tech assistance that never arrived!

Just about the only time I've worked on my trees lately has been at workshops.

One of the trees I felt had to be repotted urgently was the fig truncheon cutting which I struggled to keep alive through a heatwave last summer. Two weeks ago it was just starting to get its first leaves so I took it to a club meeting where I could get some help lifting it out of the two pots it was living in.

I bought a few pots from the club's shop and quickly repotted the tree into one of them before the meeting started.

It's been sitting in the shade since then, looking reasonably happy, and I was planning to move it back into the sun in the next few days.

August 2019 - showing early spring growth

And then I made a discovery which forced me to change my plans.

Among the items I was packing for today's workshop were training pots for repotting some of my other trees. I was horrified to find that one of the larger pots I'd bought two weeks ago had no drainage holes. That brought the horrible realisation that the pot I'd planted my fig tree in might not have any holes either.

My fears were soon confirmed. My poor tree has spent the last two weeks in soggy soil. What's more once I removed it from the pot, I discovered that the soil was really smelly.

I've now moved the tree into a better pot with clean soil, but I'm very worried about the possibility of root rot. This tree may still be fat and ugly (though not as bad as when I first wrote about it) but it's not a tree I want to lose.

It's back in the shade for now, and I've been advised to water it with a fungicide (which I still have to buy) and hopefully that will help it to pull through. For now, however, I've got a few nervous weeks ahead of me.

You can see a full progression of this tree (including future updates) here.