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Preventing Girdling Roots

Increase the health and longevity of your trees by reducing the risk of girdling roots.

These roots encircle the trunk and interfere with the flow of water, nutrients and food reserves between the roots and the leaves.

Always check for and loosen circling roots and remove girdling roots at planting.  Take extra time when examining the roots of lindens, maples, magnolias and pines that are more prone to developing girdling roots.

Dig the planting hole 2 to 5 times wider than the rootball. Roughen the sides of the planting hole to allow the trees roots easy access to the surrounding soil

Plant trees with the rootflare, the place where the tree roots flare away from the trunk, at or slightly above the soil surface.

Don’t pile mulch over the trunk of the tree. This encourages adventitious roots to form on the mulch covered trunk and develop into girdling roots.

A bit more information: Girdling roots on established trees may be visible or occur several inches below the soil surface. Trees with girdling roots can have a flattened crown, shorter branches or flatter trunk on the girdled side of the tree or show signs of general decline. Certified professional arborists have had some success managing girdling roots on established trees.

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Mequon Nature Preserve
Mequon, WI
 

August 24
Sanger House Gardens
Milwaukee, WI
 

Sept. 14
Pasquesi Home & Gardens
Lake Bluff, IL

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