Possible root damage to a 30 in boxed Chitalpa

El Paso, TX

The local nursery I bought my tree at delivered much earlier than the agreed upon time. I told him that I would be there at 4:30 because I have to get home from work. This nursery is only 3 minutes from my house, he said 4:30 is fine since I am so close anyway. I got home at 4:20 and according to my children the trees were already here at 3:30. The reason this is important is I was to be here to say where to place them.

Anyway turns out the Chitalpa tree is missing the bottom of the box. I am upset because we dragged it about 7 feet just to get it behind the gate and now I am worried the roots are damaged. What should I do?


Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Don't worry about it. I think it will be fine.

Water it well, but then hold off and not keep it soggy wet. That is a large box and will hold a lot of water. Make sure the water is not escaping around the edge of the root ball, but is soaking all the way through the soil in the box.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

As the bottom of the box is missing, then could you use an old kids paddle pool or something like that, bottomless box indicates there is nothing to hold the water around the roots till they roots can take up some moisture before it escapes via drainage holes.
At planting if they are to go in the soil, add as much humus / manure as you can dig into that area and top dress with some also, it helps hold some moisture around the roots for a little longer.
Another thing at tree planting time helps with watering IF as you place the tree into the planting hole, then take a clear plastic juice container, cut the bottom off and remove the cap, sink the container, Narrow top end down into the soil about a foot away from the trunk, back fill with the soil and have top 2-3 inches of container above the soil. when you want to water, fill the container a few times and this water will get to the roots better than the usual watering the surface of the soil as it sometimes has a crust formed, then the water runs off the top soil and the tree's don't get any water at the roots where the water or feed is needed most. Let the supplier know the mistake has caused you extra work but no point getting your blood pressure up, save that for planting time ha, ha, ha.
Hope this helps a little and good luck, and best regards. WeeNel.

El Paso, TX

Thank you very much for both of your replies.

It was definitely a task planting the tree, It was waaaaaayyyy taller than it looked at the nursery, I will post a picture.

Weenel that is an excellent solution for the root watering. it is so much cheaper than plant root spikes, thanks so much.

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