Root girdling and playing tree doctor

SibeliusJames(6a)July 11, 2014

Root operation!

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SibeliusJames(6a)

I'm not understanding something about posting. This picture was posted as an add on to a lengthy post and another picture of the entire tree, yet this is all that I see. Not sure what is going on!.......

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:26AM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

Okay, this should include two photos, one of the entire tree which is a lovely Paperbark Maple - Acer Griseum and one of the root flare. The 7 foot tall tree was very root bound when I removed it from the pot and then could see that the root flare was buried totally out of sight. I had to remove 4 inches of heavy fibrous roots and also chopped out a heavy knot of root and took off three roots that were wrapped right around the trunk. The tree would have definitely been girdled if I hadn't removed it all. However, I was left with quite a shall paddy of roots! The tree doesn't show any reaction yet but I'm sure it might after the winter when it tries to come back, or maybe it'll start wilting tomorrow! I planted the root ball high so the chopped roots are not buried, also so that the root flare is appropriately above the ground level. Since it's planted high, the rocks around it are keep the water there when watering but I"m wondering if the rocks work against the roots by raising the ph. Another concern will be the cold on the small root system in the winter. I staked the tree down so it doesn't blow away! Any comments welcome on this case! I hope it survives. I sure like this tree!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 2:57AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It should recuperate. You gotta do these things. No concern should be made about the rocks and the ph.

Excellent work.

Dax

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:23AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

when was this all done ????

sound like you did everything we might think of ...

all i might suggest.. that if you want to reduce worry.. is to not do it in july nor august.. planting at this time.. a potted plant.. can be done.. but slaughtering the root mass.. when the heat of summer is coming.. is just one giant stressor ...

if you did it in spring... good enough...

i dont like the staking ... and being a maple ... a rather.. aggressive rooted maple.. it should probably be unnecessary by spring ... and dont get me wrong.. i see no alternative to how you did it.. it just seems low ....

does sun hits the rocks for an extended period.. they could heat up and actually deter water .... i know you said you did it to deep water at transplant .. but once that is done... then get mulch back on the soil ... and just water the thing .... and if you need deep water.. put the hose on trickle ....

ken

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:26AM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

Thanks Dax and Ken for encouraging feedback. Yes, Ken, this was JUST done on July 11; a horrible time for such a stressful event on this tree. I saw it and bought it and then was faced with the issues it had and went ahead and "operated." At first I put the rocks down to help it stay in the ground because of shallow roots but then staked it so the rocks are not useful except to help pool water when watering. I'm curious to learn why you don't like the staking. Maybe I'm unaware of a negative effect. There is some wind that comes down between the houses and I was thinking it might blow away. 'Will keep my eye on the rocks for getting hot sun.

I sealed the exposed root wounds with tar "Prune and Seal." Some people have told me NOT to do this when cutting but I figured these wounds are so close to the ground that it might be better to do this.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:53AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I don't think the "sealer" will hurt per se but probably wasn't necessary.

Maples are pretty tolerant as a genus to root disturbance, especially when fairly young. You should see what bonsai growers do to maple roots!

Your tree may be sluggish for a couple seasons (as is to be expected when transplanted).

Make sure it stays moist but not overly wet. It should pull through.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:16AM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

Thank you thank. I'm excited because yesterday I thought I was killing my tree and today everybody is pretty much thumbs up that the tree should pull through! (thanks hairmetal4ever).

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:28AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

james,
Roughly where are you? Zone 10 should not have cold enough winter temps to worry about damaging the root system. As for what you did, I don't like the tar ideal at all. The tree will have to grow new roots, and those start from the pruned end of of the cut roots. Putting tar on these could very well interfer with that process, not to mention hold moisture that would favor infection with various bacteria and fungi from the soil. No, I don't like it AT ALL.

Beyond that, some shading from direct sun would likely be very beneficial. Would certainly reduce water stress while new roots generate. Keeping the soil cool and moist but not wet would be beneficial as Im sure you know. Judging from the pic, that probable won't be an issue.

As for Acer gresium, they actually seem to be more forgiving to girdling. I have seen where trees were kept in those tree band pots for too long and been potted up. Those roots had actually grafted on top of the original flare, and the tree was non the worse for the experience. I assume since the bark is so thin and sheds annually, that this facilitates the grafting. If you look online at mature Paperbarks, I don't believe you will find many with indications of bark inclusions at branch points. I know I don't remember seeing any despite some tight angles. That also would seem to suggest that they self graft freely.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:02AM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

Hi ARktrees. I"m 6a eastern PA. For some reason my website is always defaulting to 10 and I forgot to change it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:41PM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

James,
I really do strongly suggest you set up shade cloth to keep your new tree as shaded AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE for at least the rest of the summer. Don't let the rootball dry out either, but don't keep it wet. Going to have to check it daily, and learn how much to water to keep it there.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 10:24PM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

ummm......I'm thinking I will take action on your advice. I do want this tree to survive after all this and it was not an inexpensive item. I really like this tree also. It happens to get all afternoon sun so it's at the worst exposure for fatigue. Would a big piece of flexible screen cloth be sufficient? I would hang it standing in front of it on to big "sticks" in the ground. Maybe I could double the cloth for extra screening. Thanks for any comments.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 11:32PM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

after reading your post closer I see you're talking about a shade cloth, not a flexible window screen. "Shade as much as possible." (after clicking away from the last window I notice it was saying zone 10.) I have no idea why it keeps switching back to 10...anyway, you know I'm in 6a).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 1:00AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

James,
Again, shade cloth as best you can. The goal is to reduce stress on the root system/tree, while maintaining the photosynthetic machines (leaves) as much as reasonable to make the products needed to grow more roots. If they burn due to the roots not being able to keep up, then their capacity is reduced. Now is peak solar intensity, and very near peak temps. Get that shade cloth up. Zone does not matter (and yes I had saw you post of being in Pa 6a) at this point.

Arktrees

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:37AM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

No shade cloth locally, I won't have any for another five days, on order. However, I'm going to build the simple structure for the cloth now and can drape something else over in the high heat. I'm glad you've encouraged me to do this. The tree still looks good. It's holding up right now, but it's only four days in! Looking forward to getting it shaded!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:08PM
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ghostlyvision

Diegojames, on the upper right of the page you'll see 'Your Profile' (next to your nick name), click that, on the page just below Gender is a place to put your Gardening Zone, put your correct zone there and save changes and it won't keep defaulting to the wrong zone. :)

P.S. Good luck with your tree!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:54PM
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SibeliusJames(6a)

Thanks ghostlyvision. That profile page is pesky for me. One of the two email fields turns to my screen name right after loading and it looks correct. But then after making changes it gives error message that both fields must be a proper email address, and then the changes that were made are lost and you must go back and change everything again! Got the zone right now!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 1:07AM
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