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Skilled Tree Care in West Chester, PA Can Save Root Bound Trees

By Stein Tree
Posted on July 28, 2017

Good tree care in West Chester, PA begins with proper planting. Even the healthiest trees bought at the best nursery will wilt without good planning and planting techniques. For example, one of the most common problems we see with trees that are bought at a nursery, in a container pot, and then transplanted into the ground is root bound trees.

The Basics of Root Bound Trees

Root bound trees and other plants most commonly occur due to having been in too small a container for too long. The roots of trees are designed to grow and spread out under the ground to seek out moisture and the nutrients necessary to thrive. But when trees are forced into a small pot or are otherwise constricted from spreading their roots, the roots will hit those walls and either move aside or bend back on themselves to slowly spiral around the system’s center. The constricting roots will eventually soak up all available nutrients in an area and strangle the tree, forming what is known as girdling roots.

Symptoms of a Root Bound Tree

When transplanting a tree or similar container plant, the signs of a root bound tree are fairly easy to diagnose. You will see swirls of root strands wrapped around the plant’s root ball.

Unfortunately, once in the ground, diagnosis of a root bound tree can be difficult and may require professional tree care in West Chester, PA. The reason is that the symptoms can appear much like those of an under-watered or readjusting tree. The leaves will wilt or develop yellow or brown discoloration, no matter how frequently you water or how rainy the season is. Receiving insufficient nutrition from its root system, a root bound tree will refuse to grow and will eventually die. Root bound trees also have less stability due to their compacted root system, and may be more at risk for being uprooted in strong storms.

The Cure for a Root Bound Tree

certified arborist can diagnose and treat a root bound tree with the right tools. First, a hole must be dug around the roots to determine whether the tree is root bound and if girdling roots are an issue.

If so, the entire root ball will need to be well watered for an entire 24 hours. Your tree care professional will then remove the tree from the ground and carefully unwind the roots. All the excessively curved roots will need to be pruned back. In the end, only the strongest of the tree’s short roots and diving roots will be left completely intact. Once re-planted, the tree is likely to rebound and thrive, but be prepared to inspect the tree frequently for additional problems.

Call Stein Tree for Skilled Tree Care in West Chester, PA

Stein Tree has over 33 years of experience providing tree care in West Chester, PA to residents and business owners. We are passionate about tree care and we want to help you have the healthiest trees and landscape possible. For information about our services, contact us today.




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