Girdling root

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  #1  
Old 10-07-15, 04:29 AM
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Girdling root

Hey folks,

I'm a little bit more than sick right now and would very much appreciate some professional input here.
Several years ago I set in the ground an absolutely beautiful specimen Japanese Maple / Bloodgood ( 15-20'). About two years ago I noticed the tip of a very high branch died back. No big deal, I thought. we had a rough winter. Typical. Otherwise the tree was thriving and obviously loved it's new location. Well the tree, on the same general side started to experience more gradual die back. This all happened within two growing seasons. I called the arborist here and he confirmed a very large girdling root and stupid me, how obvious the sign at the base of the tree. They removed half of it on one side,... the other side seemed to have become one with the trunk. He said before cutting off the suspected branches to wait until next spring to see what happens. Sage advice !
Question - Now in early fall, What can I or should I be doing to help this tree as much as possible ? Soil amendments ? Drenches ? They did do a kelp drench 2 weeks before removing the girdled root. I obviously would like to do whatever is necessary to help the tree make it but the arborist seemed like waiting is the only option at this point.

Thoughts, experience ???

Thanks,

Nick
 
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  #2  
Old 10-07-15, 05:20 AM
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It's rather late in the season in NY but you can offer some supportive care depending on your local weather conditions. Now the tree is preparing for winter so do not prune. If you are abnormally dry I would give it a weekly deep watering. If you are getting normal or excessive rain then obviously don't water.

You can apply a mild fertilizer dose. If using something from a package I would use something with a small first number (nitrogen) and bigger 2nd (phosphorous) and 3rd (potassium) numbers. Nitrogen encourages growth and greening which isn't needed going into winter but phosphorous and potassium help with overall plant health and root development and can get the plant good and strong for winter.
 
  #3  
Old 10-08-15, 03:10 AM
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I've looked over a forestry factsheet I have bookmarked years ago and it seems maples are one of the most commonly affected species when it comes to girdling roots.
What can be done about girdling roots?

Prevention:
-carefully inspect the root system at the time of transplantation
-bend roots away from the stem before backfilling
-cut any roots (shaped like a "J") that curl back around the stem

Treatment:
-use a saw or chisel to sever the girdling root, especially if the tree has a significant target
-reduce stress on the tree recovering from the removal of a girdling root

In your case, you can excavate the area around it and backfill it with mulch so that you can easily monitor the wound and recovery process. Give it a little fertilizer for root growth. And talk to it. Seriously, let it know that you're trying to help it recover.

Good luck!
 
  #4  
Old 10-08-15, 08:53 AM
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Oh, it knows. She's the queen of the property !!! Thank you for your input .
 
  #5  
Old 10-08-15, 08:56 AM
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we had a torrential downpour a week ago but it has been dry. I'll try the weekly deep soaks. It's been on a drip system this whole time 3-4 times a week/ hour through this dry summer. I'll definitely try a mild fert. dose. I'm not big on them. Mostly good soil and compost care.
 
  #6  
Old 10-08-15, 10:47 AM
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If you have it on an irrigation system watering 3 or 4 times a week you might dig a test hole when it has not rained for several days and see how your watering schedule is working. If there are 3 or 4 shallow waterings that could encourage shallow root growth and if your emitter is right at the base of the tree it could encourage the roots to head for the water. I would also do a test dig to make sure you are not over watering. If anything Japanese Maples can tolerate dry better than wet.
 
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