Last month I was asked to visit a property to give my professional opinion as to why a specific Vanderwolf’s pyramidal limber pine decided to just up and die. A curious problem to be sure. As the story goes, the tree started to look a little off the 3rd week of July and by the 3rd week of August all the needles turned completely brown but, the branches remained limber. When I got to the site I noticed that the ground was nice and moist, possibly a little too wet but not so wet to cause oxygen starvation in one tree and not the others. I forgot to mention, the dead tree was one of a group of 6 or 7 Vanderwolf’s all planted in the same area roughly 12 years ago.
|Stem elongation without full needle expansion "Pushed and Puked"|
|Another view of the arrested development|
I show up on Thursday and the land manager drives up on the lawn with this huge loader. I ask him why on earth do you have such a big loader? (You see most landscape contractors use small, light maneuverable skid-steer loaders which are handy and have a million different attachments to do all kinds of different jobs.) His answer “We do snow removal here too.” Of course. I assumed he was going to dig up the tree but that was silly; to dig up the tree would have wrecked a whole lot of irrigation and nobody in their right mind would want to make more work for themselves. Instead, he wrapped a chain around the trunk and attached the end to the hook on the bucket and carefully pulled the tree out of the ground.
Check out the video:
The tree popped out of the ground like plucking a mushroom from the lawn and we had our answer, circling roots, the result of a missed step on planting day.
|Circling roots left in the ground after tree removal.|
|Constricted trunk, note the lack of scaffold roots.|
Even Horties Make Mistakes: Tree Planting posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 for more great information about circling roots.