August 24, 2006

Myth of the Week 2003

The Renegade Gardener
...Big news rolled out of the University of Minnesota two years back. After checking over 500 potted trees randomly selected from wholesale and retail nursery yards, University researchers discovered a great many that were potted too deep, with, on average, six to eight inches of soil packed above the first set of lateral roots (or 'shoulder' roots). The same situation has been found in trees dug and sold with the root ball wrapped in burlap.

If homeowners plant a tree at the same level as the soil in the pot, but don't check to see if excess dirt has been packed over the top of the shoulder roots when the tree was dug and prepared for sale, they could be planting the tree too deep. Planting a tree even six inches too deep can cause root girdling, as the roots, sensing they're too far below the surface, tend to grow up, then in, circling the trunk. The tree dies in five years, or goes down in a storm in twenty, or lives a long, sickly, bitter life.


Blogger Kate A. Shorey said...

That's good stuff... I enjoyed reading baout dead-heading the lilacs, and not to worry about it too much! --Kate

7:25 AM  

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