Girdling roots

El Paso, TX

I have been reading a lot about girdling roots on trees. My Chitalpa has a few near the surface that I can see. They are not very big yet, but I think one is leaning a bit on the stem. Can I remove them now before my tree establishes itself? Its only been planted about two weeks. They are still pretty loose even the one that is leaning a bit unto the stem. I am still able to easily move it with my fingers. Can I remove them now before they get bigger?

Thumbnail by ScarletRed Thumbnail by ScarletRed
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

I would say: Yes, and yes.

Russell, KY(Zone 6b)

If it has only been in the ground two weeks I would be sorely tempted to lift it to make sure the rest of the roots are spread out properly. If they are in as bad a shape as the ones that you can see it can spell trouble in the long run.
Depends on the size of the tree, I guess- if it is too big to wrangle it's too big to wrangle.
If it is larger and a nursery planted it for you I would be very unhappy- this all should have been addressed before it was planted.

El Paso, TX

Thank you very much, I did cut those two roots, they were strange, very short roots but I removed them. Yes this tree is very large, it did not seem this large at the nursery. This tree has a habit of forming long tap roots straight down from the trunk. I know this because I have tried to dig them ut of the wild and I was not successful at all. :(

I am wondering if it would be possible to do a little excavating from the top down? I did a little and the remainder roots are more fine than those odd strangling roots were at the top.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I know you just 'fixed' the problem but since planting a tree is sort of a shock in itself, cutting large roots can be even more stressful. I would strongly suggest adding some Biotone or similar product to enhance root growth and alleviate transplant stress. It has beneficial bacteria that help with those things as well as being a light feed.

El Paso, TX

Thank you Sequoiadendron4, I did actually add some root growth enhancers I was concerned about the shock as well. Now I am learning this tree does not like too much water. It does better if I skip a few days. This is sort of frustrating since the nursery said to water it daily but it seems to shoot out new leaves when I let a few days sit in between waterings even though we are in 100 degree weather right now.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow...well sometimes nurseries don't have all the answers and it's best to do a little investigating to make sure their story lines up with what you can find online. Good luck with it!

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