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Shown are the roots of a potted holly tree. Should these roots be cut before planting? How agressively should I remove roots? I do not want to kill the plant.

What about those thicker roots? Some in this lot of plants have a really thick woody root along the edge of the root ball.



If you want to plant it in full ground, just loosen up the root ball a bit (with breaking some of the outer thin roots). That will stimulate new root grow. Are you sure it is the right time to plant it in full ground in your part of the world? Usually that would be spring time.

If you want to repot it, you may loosen it up again but I would keep as much as possible of the roots intact, and only remove much of the soil between the roots. Then find a larger container and add new potting soil.

  • I'm in Southeastern USA. Our weather is currently very spring-like. Temps in the 60s. It's still good weather to plant here. My concern are these thick, stalky roots. Should I cut those? Nov 23 '20 at 22:22
  • 1
    I wouldn't cut any roots, unless you break them and think a clean cut would be better than a ragged break. Putting the root ball under a cold water tap is one way to wash out some of the compost and free up the root ball. It won't do any harm so long as you don't leave the roots standing in water for a long time.
    – alephzero
    Nov 24 '20 at 0:43

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