It may take as long as 20 years for improper planting to kill a tree; a lot of the time
it’s a slow decline which can be easily missed.
Leaving string tied around the trunk of the tree is one example of improper
planting; over time this will gurgle the tree. This occurs when the roots grow around the
trunk of the tree, choking it. This is the same as getting a puppy, putting a collar on it,
and never getting a larger collar–the puppy will never live to it’s first birthday. Trees
grow much slower so it takes much longer to kill the tree this way.
In some cases the problem is actually the potting techniques in the nursery
industry. Plants starts in small pots and get up potted as the plants get larger. The
process causes gurgling roots. The tree may be in a 15 gallon container when you buy
it, and it may not look like there are any gurgling roots, how ever the gurgling roots may
have occurred when the tree was smaller and in a 3 gallon pot. If left in a small pot too
long (over a year), this may cause gurgling roots deep with in the root ball. When
possible, remove the soil from container grown trees so you can inspect for gurgling
roots, and prune the gurgling roots to remove them.
It is also important to make sure that the tree is planted so the root flare is level
with the top of the ground. The root flare in many cases it not level in a potted plant or
on a ball & burlaped tree. Always find the depth of the root flare before planting.