Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Root Flares in the wild

I think one of the things I talk about the most lately is the root flare on woody plant material and why it is important. There's a big problem of root flares being buried too deeply in the nursery pots or the field for B&B material. If the root flare is buried below the surface of the soil...the plant will either a) languish in plant purgatory or b) just die. The tissue beneath the bark moves the water and nutrients between the leaves and the roots. If that is buried too deeply, that tissue can rot and die and then the plant dies.

So, one of the questions I get is what does the root flare look like and where should I plant it. This oak tree in my neighborhood is the best example I have ever seen of what we should strive for in planting. The roots on that tree break just under the soil and you can clearly see the flaring of the trunk. That is what we should do when transplanting a woody plant.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cris, Just found your blog. Nice pics and great info. Keep up the good work and I love the news about your cute rottie.do you know about the landscape group- Underground- which lists thru yahoo. Good info and great community of landscape/garden design/ arborists and nursery folks from the Northeast.
louise garwood
landscape planning and garden design
west brookfield, ma 01585

The Garden Consultant said...

Hi Lousie,

Thanks for your comment! I do know and belong to the Underground. ;) I don't participate as much as I probably should. You're right, it's a fabulous community.

I hope you stop by again and see what Lars and I are up to!

~ Cris

Fletch001 said...

Glad to hear someone who really cares about correcting this problem. Its got to be one of the biggest killers in the industry. Don't ever buy potted trees. They are the most abused and least likely to survive because of root collars buried to the bottom of the pot.

We'll be living with this problem for a long time to come.

Stop buying potted plants and when Nurseries figure out that they can't sell poorly grown plants, they may start producing trees that live approximately 20 years on average.

Sorry to be so negative but its a serious problem that needs to be corrected. Nevertheless, digging a trench and exposing the root flare on many poorly grown trees can result in a healthy long living plant.

Thanks for your page, Kristin. Its a good addition to Facebook!

The Garden Consultant said...

You're welcome...it's become a crusade of mine. People assume that plants come correctly planted in the pots they buy. And honestly, why wouldn't they...after all, nursery staff SHOULD know how to correctly plant a tree or shrub in a container. I'm not sure if there's a break down in communication between foremen and the help, or if there's a language barrier with today's green industry work force, or if it's apathy.