Arborist help needed with tree

Discussion in 'Fertilizers, Pesticides and Diseases' started by lincoln295, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. lincoln295

    lincoln295 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    First let me tell you all I am NOT an arborist and don't pretend to know about trees. The problem I am concerned with is the rocks placed around the base of this maple. This is on my own property and they were already there when I moved in. I want to remove them and do a small mulch ring but I am worried that the roots may be too exposed possibly damaging the tree. I was going to lightly shovel the dirt away from the outside and then use a hose to wash the rest form the trunk. What is the best way to handle situations like this? I know the tree was planted before the stone was installed. Any idea why the trunk is splitting?(see pic). I noticed a decline in leaves this year. what is a good fert for these trees. I only have 26-0-11 .14-14-14. and 18-24-12. all lesco. I use the triple 14 on ornamental Is this ok for this tree or should I call for an injection fert?
    Thanks for any help you can give me.

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Bark, cracks on maples, all the time, particularily in wet years. The leaves are dropping off a lot of different trees, because so much water produced excessive leaves, and now in the heat, they are cutting back. Natural cycle.
    Fertilizing trees is a stupid idea. Rapid growth of woody plants, invites disease and cracked bark. Move the stones away from the trunk, and expose the root crown at the base. Beyond that, no big deal, to get rid of the stone. Just cover with a good, moisture conserving soil.
     
  3. lincoln295

    lincoln295 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Thanks for the reply. So it would be ok to remove approximately 18" of soil from the base to make it level with the grass and then add mulch. I want to get rid of the wall blocks.
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  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Are you talking about going 18" down? It looks to me like 3" off the trunk is about right. It may survive some major root removal, but could very possibly kill the tree.
     
  5. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    Lincoln,
    I am confident that this tree was planted B&B or from container raised off the ground because this spot is either level or low. The wall was added later on as the roots started growing upward instead of downward as needed. All the moisture is being kept at or near these stones as the feeder roots are shown under the stones. Strangulation and or girdling is imminent on this poor tree. Taking down the wall stones and removing the rocks will help the tree but cutting too many of those surface roots will cause some major damage. I dont know from the picture of a more wider angle of the lawn but from my angle I don't see any other surface roots. If not, then all the roots are near the surface of this tree and the only supporting roots is the tap root and maybe some shallow lateral roots. This tree is becoming nitrogen deficient competing with the grass or lack of fertillizer thereof and excessive water.
    You can remove the materials and stones. I would find the drip line and extend the bed outward to this area and a couple of feet beyond that and then mulch the area.
     
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,830

    I like post #2....If this was my tree I would remove the soil to expose the trunk flair and it might be beneficial to surgically cut some (not all) of the exposed sgr. if unsure its best seek out a local arborist.
     
  7. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    That is NOT a nitro deficient tree. Not that I know what it is, but I have seen similar looking leaves on Potasium deficient trees during stress. A soil test and or tissue test could provide more info.
     
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    There are already roots, down there. I have cut surface roots off of the crown down over a foot deep and left the root ball exposed, because I needed a driveway there. That was only half of the tree. And it was an oak. After about seven years, it is still alive and growing.

    Your tree would look funny, with the upper half of the root ball, trimmed and above ground. Disease and decay would be of primary concern. Going slowly, to see what you have, doing minimal damage along the way, and doing it after first frost, and perhaps you got a prayer.
    The bad thing about arborists, is that they are paranoid about everything and trees are more fragile, than a morning glory, on a sunny day.
     
  9. lincoln295

    lincoln295 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Here are some more pics to help show the problem

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  10. lincoln295

    lincoln295 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    This is the look I would like to have. Mulch level with the turf.

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