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Root Care: The Heart of Your Plant

During the month of December, typically the only tree we are thinking about is the one in the living room with all the lights and ornaments. Occasionally we may look outside, but let’s be honest, our landscape is not at the forefront of our minds. If you are like me, the “last-minute Christmas shopper”, I am strategically planning out the “Arrives By” date on Amazon to make sure I still have enough time. Regardless of what may populate our minds this time of year, it’s important to remember that now is a great time to make a difference below ground. You may be asking, “why should I be concerned about what is below ground?” One simple answer: ROOTS!

Root care is often overlooked of a couple of reasons. First, we simply forget about it. When we notice that there is an issue, we usually see them in the growing season. Normally the ugliest problems arrive in the late summer from prolonged stress. Root issues typically show up first in the canopy of trees and in the foliage of shrubs. This could range from discoloration, thinning, or stunted leaf growth just to name a few. We typically push these issues off until the Fall or Winter and once the trees have lost their leaves, or are beginning to lose them, it is rarely ever thought of again. Second, we never knew there was anything we could do about it. That is perhaps one of the most common statements I have heard throughout my career as an Arborist. Simply not knowing that there is a solution to the issues your plants face below ground. Roots start the process for every plant on this earth and roots also sustain the same process over the entire life of the plant. Therefore, root care is so important because without roots we do not have shoots! Now, the big question is “How do I take care of my roots?”

Soil Conditioning – Soil compaction is one of the most detrimental factors contributing to tree decline. Compacted and toxic soil around the critical root zone needs to be addressed first before moving to other areas of tree care. Compacted soils can exist naturally meaning that they do not have to be in a heavy trafficked area to become compacted. Clay soils in this area are naturally compacted therefore creating a difficult growing environment for our trees. We condition soil by using compressed air, compost, organic matter, and TLC to enhance the existing soil around your trees that may be showing signs of stress.
Expose Root Collar – Buried root collars contribute heavily to tree decline and stress. Trees should naturally “flare out” at the bottom and not be covered with mulch around the trunk. Often, buried root collars trap heat and moisture around the trunk causing more susceptibility to insects and disease as well as creating a constricting effect to water and nutrients. Using compressed air and hand tools, we expose this once buried essential organ to breath new life into a stressed tree.

Prune and Remove Girdling Roots – Soil compaction and buried root collars all lead to girdling roots. Girdling roots are simply defined as roots that girdle (wrap around) each other and constrict flow of water and nutrients. These roots can be fatal to your trees and if you notice an issue, these roots should be investigated. Please do not attempt to remove girdling roots yourself. Cutting too many or cutting the wrong one can be fatal as well. Alleviating the “girdling” will increase the chances of your tree recovering and flourishing in the years to come.

We want to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and thank you for your continued support!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

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At Cambium Canopy & Turf, we take care of your plants from root to stem!


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