This tree was purchased at the start of winter, as part of a left-over batch in a local garden centre. Upon inspection of the roots, it was clear they were still active. However, looking carefully at the rootbal, it is clear that the roots are not happy. The soil is very wet, and the rootball is full of black, dead roots.
Checking the rootball
The rootball was very carefully cleared of most of the potting soil. For this I use a single-point roothook. Removing the soil is done with a lot of care, in order to not put any pressure on the roots in the rootball. These roots are already unhappy. As the weather is cool and moist, there is no big risk in the roots drying out so you can take your time. After about half an hour of carefull cleaning, it is clear that a lot of the roots that were cut off when the plant was potted up in the current container, never resprouted. You can clearly see the cut stubs on the dead roots. It seems like it was a good choice to repot this plant.
Potting olive into bonsai substrate
Although it is tempting to pot the plant up with surface roots showing, it was decided to pot the plant fairly deep. This allows the few roots that were there (And mostly consisted of surface roots) to stay healthy. The plant had a good root flare, as I have often seen on these nursery plants. Now it is time to play the waiting game, and hope it bounces back in spring. Naturally, this plant is sheltered from winds and deeps frosts, sitting in my unheated greenhouse for winter.