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dreamdoctor

Meredith - I'm hopeful this is not your case but I have seen a piece of plastic rope left on the b/b tree by "minimally trained" landscape help (whole rows of them), around the base hidden in the soil after everything else is cut off - removing that makes a big difference. If the plants are container grown the roots can swirl in the container which sets it up for girdling - they need to be teased out so they head out from the trunk not around in circles - the amended soil is easier to grow in so the roots stay there especially if it is fertilized.

Check the base of the trunk first for the rope (that is why natural materials are preferred so they can decompose as a safety) then dig down one side of the tree a couple three feet out and look at the roots to see what they are doing - at least then you will know what is going on. Might be time for some "tough love". It might just be the particular year your trees went through. Good luck.

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Waterwise Landscapes Incorporated

In more arid climates like ours in Albuquerque where soils are alkaline and microbial activity is minimal it's best to remove all burlap,chicken wire,wire baskets as well as the nylon ropes. If you are worried about the root ball collapsing cut out the bottom of the cage/wire first then place in the hole,then cut the cage off carefully. If you can't get the cage off then at least cut portions away that would interfere with root growth.

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poodlemom

Thanks for the tip about not staking trees, I planted a Fringe Tree this past spring and I staked it. I will remove the stake this spring.

   

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