Downed trees – was it wind? Or did it start long ago?

Thu. Sep. 21, 2017

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

We’ve been lucky in the upper midwest, while other parts of the country have suffered unimaginable destruction due to storms, we’ve seen (mostly) downed trees.  But perhaps the wind didn’t seem like it should be so strong as to knock that 20 year old maple tree down.

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!