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Tunneling Under Tree Roots

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Tunneling Under Tree Roots

Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida is making improvement to 9 holes this summer and some of the improvements include better drainage. But sometimes getting the drain pipes laid out from the golf course past homes to the street presents problems for trees that are near the planned trench.  When one homeowner adjacent to the drainage project saw that her trees were going to have their roots cut by the planned drainage trench, she contacted me and we ...

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Strangling a Live Oak

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Strangling a Live Oak

We had an unusual experience on a root crown excavation the other day on a 41-inch DBH live oak located near a couple houses built 17 years ago on a wooded pennisula that sticks out into the Intracoastal Waterway at the south end of the Guana-Tolomato Wildlife Preserve north of St. Augustine. The construction impacts were minor on all the trees in the area and there have been no signs of construction-related problems on the trees with the exception of ...

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Mulch for palms

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Generally any mulch consisting of organic material is good. Often organic mulch from palm parts is stringy and not as esthetically pleasing as pine straw, pine bark or wood chips. My favorite mulch is that produced by tree service chippers especially that of pine trees and broad leaf trees. It includes twigs, leaves, branches, bark and wood all homogenized in a nice mix. There is another problem with palm mulch — ganoderma zonatum, the dreaded butt rot disease. It is ...

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Excessive mulching causes strangulation by stem girdling roots.

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Excessive mulching causes strangulation by stem girdling roots.

During the first three months of 2013 Danny and I had been asked to excavate a number of young live oaks (Quercus virginiana) with mulch volcanoes and to fix the problems we found. We knew from previous excavation on individual trees that we would likely often find some nursery ropes, straps and wire baskets left behind that are beginning to girdle the growing trunk. We also expected to find an occasional stem girdling root. But we weren’t prepared for the ...

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Using Stones and Shells for Mulch

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Q: I am re-landscaping my entire yard, and instead of mulch, rocks or pine needles, I am planning on using shells. Will shells create any type of problem for my trees, shrubs or flowers?
(Question from Naples, Florida)

A: Generally shells are much like a stone mulch. Except shells will slowly leach calcium into the soil as they very gradually degrade. If you already have a high pH (soil measure of acidity or alkalinity), which means your soil is alkaline, then ...

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