Are you interested in planting a new tree in your yard? Before you do, it is important that you ensure the tree can be transplanted successfully! A recurring problem that comes with purchasing saplings from a nursery is circling and girdling roots. This is the result of having the said tree remain in the container for too long. Naturally, roots keep extending outward to increase the maximum amount of water and nutrients and to support the tree from tipping over. However, being in a container forces the roots of a tree to circle around the wall. There are methods you can take before and after purchasing a tree to ensure it has a healthy and long life.
To start, the first suggestion is to remove the tree from a container and inspect the roots of a tree you seek to purchase. While the roots support the base of the tree, they are also in charge of absorbing nutrients and water. Regardless if you transplant a tree with circling roots into Earth’s soil, the problem of circling roots will persist because that is how they have been conditioned to grow.
On top of providing less support to the tree, circling roots strangle the tree. This stuns development for the tree. In the worst cases of circling roots, stem girdling roots form. Stem girdling roots are roots which grow up and over the root flare and base of the trunk. These crossing roots will cut off the conductive tissue below the bark causing part of the tree to decline and branches to die. The carbohydrates produced in the foliage cannot be moved into the roots and the affected roots can die. Because the stem girdling roots block conductive tissue, water and nutrients absorbed by the fine roots cannot move into the upper part of the tree. Therefore, branches in the crown can starve and die.
If circling roots are small, about less than ⅛ in diameter, it is not much of a problem. Often circling roots can be fixed by pruning the roots to recondition the way they grow, however the treatment is not always successful. If there are too many roots which circle around, it is best to pick a different tree.