American Grove

American Grove

Tree Planting, Part 2: Digging the hole and placing the tree

How to dig a $5 hole for a $0.50 tree. Also discusses root flare, girdled roots, and different ways to purchase a tree for tree planting.


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Comment by Patti Erwin on November 22, 2010 at 3:56pm
I'm glad to hear you caught the problem with your Rose of Sharon in time. That brings up the topic of removing everything that is tied to the trunk and branches. It doesn't take long for them to be girdled. It is so important to have a tree management plan that includes follow-up after a tree is planted to insure these types of problems do not occur. Here is a good example of what can occur when the plastic twine is left on the tree.

Comment by Ralph Seay on November 17, 2010 at 1:13pm
I agree Patti, why take the chance? Though not actually a tree, I recently planted a 6-foot tall Rose of Sharon/Althea that was to be discarded because it was not growing the way it should have grown. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the root ball was still intact after several years and the plastic twine had "girdled" the main trunk almost to the point of killing the plant. I believe I caught it in time and now have a beautifully shaped Rose of Sharon growing in my yard! Ralph Seay
Comment by Patti Erwin on November 17, 2010 at 11:07am
There is still a lot of controversy about this topic but from my experience and in talking with other arborists the wire basket should be removed. Research shows that the wire will still be there after 20 -30 years so there is no doubt that the roots are going to be impacted by the wire. There is the potential for girdling roots, restriction of the vascular system as the roots grow into the wire and the reduction of root flare development which could cause instability of the tree. Why take the chance of having problems down the road?
Comment by Jim Binns on November 16, 2010 at 4:21pm
Recently I read the results of studies (on line) concerning the removal of the wire baskets from the root ball ( On a 3"dbh tree, that is a lot of work). Most of what I read was of the opinion that the baskets do not harm trees. I know of one old study (Journal of Arboriculture, if I remember correctly) that did explain a damage to tree roots.

I'd like to know what your experience and findings show. Patti?

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