Downed trees – was it a strong wind or did it start long ago?

Thu. Sep. 20, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Downed trees – was it a strong wind or did it start long ago?

100 year old White Pine photo by Glenn Switzer

The above photo was taken a couple of blocks from my house this week.  It was blown up by lightning.  A show that I was enjoying with amazement, until I found out this happened!  Then I was supremely grateful that no one was injured, her home is fine, her car not so much!

With all the high winds recently from storms, there have been plenty of trees downed.  But, is it always from the wind?

The problem could really have started a long time ago.  Indeed, in the tree’s infancy.  When plants, in particular trees and shrubs, are grown in containers, there’s a tendency for their roots to circle inside the container.  The longer they’re in it, the worse the problem is.  However, that’s NOT the real issue.  Check out this blog from  Deeproot

That happens at planting time.  As I’ve been advocating for years, you MUST root prune any tree or shrub without mercy when you plant them.   To plant properly, take a look at this video with tree expert, Leif Knecht from Knecht’s Nursery and Landscaping.  This was from my show Dig In Minnesota – 2013

When you plant a tree or shrub without loosening those roots and cutting out those that are circled around the root ball, you are killing your plant slowly.

And then comes mulch.  A contractor hires someone to plant trees in a housing development or at a business, they apply mulch like a volcano.  This is an absolute no-no and makes a Master Gardener want to pull over and wrench that mulch away from the trunk.  Always think DONUT when mulching and spread it out where you want the roots to grow.

As my good friend, Arborist Faith Appelquist explains, piling mulch high against the trunk creates the ideal conditions for growing roots where they don’t belong; against the trunk. Roots follow the path of least resistance, encircling the trunk, never changing direction into the soil.

Major no-no!