This is my first edition to the new blogging campaign created by C. L. Fornari, Cape Cod Master Gardener. ” You Can Grow That” will be a collection of various garden blog posts on the 4th of every month that can serve to raise awareness of the joy and importance of gardening and planting.
Spring is almost here and I'm sure we all cannot wait to get our shovels back into the earth and start planting.
Of coarse we all are aware of all of the amazing benefits that plants provide for the rest of us living organisms on the planet, but when you see articles like the following showing up so often in the headlines lately you might start to get a bit concerned.
In Texas’ worst drought on record, trees dying by the millions
Warming blamed for yellow cedar die-off in Southeast Alaska
U.S. Cities Are Losing 4 Million Trees a Year
Study: Nation’s urban forests losing ground
It seems that every few days there is another new story about some new, introduced invasive insect or some other environmental threat destroying trees across this nation and around the globe.
The current health of many of our forests does not seem very promising.
With this in mind I want to encourage everyone that now, more than ever, it is so important that we don’t forget about trees in our garden plans and designs. With trees dying off at unprecedented rates in recent years, every tree that we plant counts.
Of coarse we want the trees that we plant to survive but did you that almost 80% of trees planted by so called professionals are planted incorrectly? In the coarse of our work we see many tree health problems and many of them can be traced back to the same “root” problem.
The proper planting depth of newly installed trees is such an important aspect to planting, but one of the most often overlooked. Understanding how to determine the correct planting depth for you new tree can make the difference of your tree surviving and thriving. A tree that is planted too deep, with it’s root flare buried will most likely develop many serious health problems that will seriously reduce it’s life span.
LOOK FOR THE ROOT FLARE!
If you know what you are looking for, finding the root flare is a very easy thing to do. the root flare is the area of the trunk that “flares” out at the base before transitioning to the roots below the surface of the soil. This flare will be more pronounced on some species more than others, but it is identifiable on any tree.
The root flare of most trees is easy to identify. If your tree's trunk is growing straight out of the ground with no visible flare then it is most likely planted to deep.
The root flare of this Spruce tree had been buried by years planting around the tree and excessive mulching. This tree's health was in decline and had some early stages of root rot beginning to set in.
It is very important to understand that many trees that are purchased from your local nursery might well be buried in the ball or the container and might need some excessive soil removed from the top of the ball to get down to the root flare.
Usually due to digging and harvesting techniques, many trees have excessive soil piled up onto their trunks and need to be carefully dug out before planting.
Now that you have identified the root flare your ready to plant. Make sure that the soil level at the root flare of you tree is level with the grade of the spot your are planting into.
Of coarse there are a few other considerations to planting healthy trees that will thrive for many many years to come that we can discuss in future posts. However, this one overlooked aspect of tree planting shows up so often that we just wanted to help spread the word to any aspiring tree planters ( and the earth needs as many as she can find).