My Cherry tree in the front yard has been losing vigor past couple of years.
It was planted 10 yrs ago when it was about 6 feet.
Last year the tree was trimmed and landscaping was installed and the tree drip zone was affected some. Some top soil was added around the trunk. Probably a mistake but hope I have not done any serious damage.
The tree also has a girdling root (the root does
not wrap around the trunk but there is a root which bends and goes across the root flare to the opposite side.
Last fall I had an arborist look at the tree concerned about this and some tree sap oozing from the trunk. He said the sap oozing was not a problem as there was no evidence of a borer.
The girdling root he said was too late to chop off because it was more than 2 inches in diameter.
He recommended fertilizing with arbor kelp, a liquid root based fertilizer which I did last fall.
Is there a chance this tree will regain its vigor? Do I just observe the tree this year?
What should I do if the tree does not leaf out fully and lushly?
I am attaching a couple of pictures of the tree.
The tree did flower on all branches, does cherry tree leaf out on all branches that had flowered?
Mine is not the case as the second picture shows.
Thanks for your help.
Yup, keep an eye on it, it sounds like you can not undo the development. Make sure there is no soil against the stem (they breathe like roots), this may require having the tree growing in a well. It does not look too bad from the foliage/flowers. Don't underplant, if possible, and mulch with an organic mulch, no deeper than 10cms. Don't prune it unless you have to and only apply small quantities of fertiliser, you could cause imbalances and without as many roots, the fertiliser will leach away and be no more than a pollutant. Cross your fingers and use this as a learning experience. If the tree looks really sick, get advice from a competent, preferably qualified, consulting arborist to get a new tree planted which is the right tree for the position.
Ranga, sure wish I had more closer photos of tree. I saw sap oozing from one of my clients Cherry trees and no sign of borer. But later it became evident that bores were present, there are always more than one factor which causes a trees demise. I would go ahead and do a systemic application of insecticide to your tree and consider something in the fungicide dept. which will help with the root damage from landscaping. Bayleton w/ minor nutrient and low nitrogen content is what I use after contractors tear roots.Wait at least two weeks between insect and fungicide treatment. Kit has you on the right track also.
Hi Kit & Darbo,
Thanks for your advise.
The landscaper had piled on about 4-5 inches of
topsoil around the drip zone and had put landscape fabric around the drip zone too.
Pretty nice way to choke off the tree. I should have realized, I tore up all the landscape fabric, removed as much top soil from around the tree and the tree seems to be improving.
It is still not lush as before, I am wondering how much time it takes for new feeder roots to grow, as the fabric and extra soil could have clobbered the existing feeder roots.
As Darbo mentions this tree has undergone the following stress factors
1) Added soil over root ball
2) Landscape fabric reducing oxygen to the roots
3) Some roots severed during landscaping
4) Tree was trimmed last year
5) Sap used to ooze out couple of years, none see this year
till now, but I do see some cracks in the tree trunk
6) Potential girdling root?? Don't know for sure
This tree used to be very healthy before 1,2,3 and 4 above were inflicted on it. Condidering this, can I expect this tree to recover? Should I wait for next year?
Also I am attaching a photo of the tree as it looks this day and also a potential girdling root. Will this root cause problems? The Arborist said that it too late to chop it off and just leave it.
This message has been edited. Last edited by: ranga,
Time can be a great healer, but I am often the same - I just can't sit on my hands. If you are going to get out there and there is no stopping you, I think you should:
1 leave the root, I won't go on about why.
2 Give it some blood and bone fertiliser. Spread a couple of bags of sugar on the permeable rootzone.
3 Replace that mulch with some tree surgeons mulch. Something with leaves twigs, bugs, urine, moss, lichen and the like in it. The stuff you have (and I might be wrong) is decorative and it seems so sterile to me. You want something that goes all white inside, sprouts mushrooms and has worms in it.
This may all sound bizarre, but what have you got to lose. Ask me if you want an explanation of my recommendations, as although bizarre there is some theory behind them.
Thanks for your recipe. bone meal and the organic mulching I understand. I don't understand what the bags of sugar does. Is this plain table sugar?
Also I only use organic fertilizer in my lawn. I do see many earthworms when I dig, don't know how many are there in the root zone of the tree.
The mulch I have right now is black decorative mulch. The tree surgeons mulch you mention I guess is something I have to make myself?
I have seem mushrooms pop up in the garden, and also have seen the white stuff you mention below the mulch. I thought the white stuff is fungus growing in the mulch because of the water and is bad? I don't know if this what you mean by
"goes all white inside"
Also I had the tree fertilized last fall with the arbor kelp slow release fertilizer.
One more thing I see is there are leaves on the tip of the crown, but no leaves covering most of the branch? Does this mean that the branches are still alive and may leaf out next year?
As you mention time is the only good healer and hope this tree recovers next year.
Yes, ordinary sugar; cheap stuff. There is a theory out there in the cosmos that sugar solution (becomes solution when it rains) encourages root growth. The tree takes the sugars up and uses them like it would sugars produced by photosynthesis. There is something about stimulating root growth, but I can't remember that part; something like rooting hormone effect (I did warn you it was a bit out there). However, it could be looked at two ways: the sugar could be helping the roots, or it could be helping the soil. The sugar creates a proliferation of soil bacteria, much maligned in soil health with the dominance of interest in mycorrizae (I never remember the correct spelling - its an alien word!). I have tried it - no noticeable results mind. My tests were by no means comprehensive or scientific; not even a control, I put sugar on all the young trees that got treated. The reason I tried this particular theory is I am cheap and sugar is cheap.
Seeing worms is good, they dont like crap soil and there must be some soil bacteria or something to eat - ie some organic matter. Organic must be better than non-organic, even if just for the environment.
Tree surgeons mulch is just what has been through a brushwood chipper. Not just wood or bark; invariably from pines, but all the bits of trees mushed up and left to sweat in a heap. Got to watch it doesn't have weed seeds in it though.
White stuff is mycelium. Can be bad if something like honey fungus, but this is found under the bark. Honey fungus spreads by rhizomorphs ( rhizo - root...morph - like), thin black strand like. Fungus is actually the white stuff, the mushroom or toadstool is just the fruiting body - a flower type of structure if you like. Forest floor type mycelium - white stuff - that breaks down the detritus is the big daddy of the fungus world. Pathenogenic (attacks living tissue) fungus are opportunistic cowards - if you like.
A good environment for fungus can encourage beneficial fungus lke mychorrizae (spelling!!!!), some of them, eg Boletus, produce mushrooms. I would not stress about fungus killing the tree, if it happens by the time you notice it is probably too late and it was likely something else that weakened the trees defence system; the fungus would then be taking advantage of a tree possibly on the way out anyway.
Only young growth (on tips of branches) could be all sorts of things; in this case we could be fairly certain it is root death by mechanical means and suffocation.
Doesn't seem too bad,keep your chin up ;-)
Just in case plant more trees, it is quick to remove trees - growing them takes years. Maybe seek out a locally native tree that will provide a benefit to the ecosystem. Choose a species that is good firewood and it will even be useful if not needed as a tree. Plant small for cheapness, better establishment and root systems. Don't be shy of group plantings - think forestry mentality, ie natural lower branch suppression and that few trees reach maturity. For every quality specimen many have fallen by the wayside.
I leave you with my quote "trees have been coping fine for milions of years and we come along and think we know better - what are the chances we do?" Work with: not against. Trees are easy, it's people that are the problem.
Thanks for answering all my questions. I learn a lot from your posts.
I noticed that there is product called diehard transplant which has mycorrhiza, essentially a 8 oz packet of spores. Don't know if this does anything but I may give it a shot in the fall.
You mentioned you did'nt notice much results with the sugar.
I will sprinkle some sugar along with the spores
and try a new recipe!
RangaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: ranga,
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