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Root Pruning

Last updated: April 19, 2019

What Does Root Pruning Mean?

Root pruning is the trimming of roots to stimulate growth, develop a thick mass of roots, or to remove broken or damaged roots.


Root pruning may be necessary for a number of reasons, such as when potting a new bare root plant to facilitate potting or to stimulate growth.

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Maximum Yield Explains Root Pruning

Root pruning can be as simple as the horticulturalist removing broken or damaged roots as they plant, or can be performed to stimulate root growth on a bare root plant.


Root pruning with a shovel or blade is a common practice for trees in a nursery that will eventually be dug up for transplanting. The purpose of root pruning in this case is to reduce the shock when the plant is dug up, or to enable a tree to be dug up during different stages of growth when the tree is not dormant.


Another reason for root pruning is to slow the growth process because the plant's energy goes into rejuvenating the severed roots and not into new top growth. This is beneficial for reducing the size of the root ball when the plant is dug up.


Proper root pruning can also stimulate the growth of more hair or feeder roots that will increase the likelihood of success when the tree is eventually transplanted.

Root pruning is also an important part of growing and maintaining a bonsai.

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Container GardeningRoot HealthPlant GrowthDiseases and ConditionsTrimming

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