I'm afraid I killed my dogwood. Help!
I have a dogwood in my tree pit out front. This is its third spring in the ground. Just as it was starting the transition from blossoms to leaves (two-ish weeks ago), I put in a new tree pit border. In the process, I damaged a bunch of small roots near the surface. Apparently this was dumb. The tree has kind of been frozen in time since. The half emerged leaves haven't grown, and are starting to brown at the edges. What do I do?
First thing - WATER !!!
It's been dry lately, so unless you're manually watering, i'd give the water a try. Water the roots, not the foliage, for now.
I've been filling the tree gator once a week. 'bout to do it again now. Maybe it needs more. When I think it through, it seems to me that I damaged its roots right when it needed to put all its energy into making leaves. It redirected its energy to repairing the roots, at the expense of the leaves. Basically I picked the worst possible time for this.
Originally Posted by Polar Cub
How deep did you go?
What did you put in as a pit border?
Did you take the gator bag off for the winter?
Did you have any masonry or painting done recently on the front of your home or did your neighbors?
You can't see it, but the root system is usually about at least 1/2 as deep as the height of the tree. So you should be able to trim away surface roots from a tree with no problem.
If losing a small amount of surface roots had that big of an effect on the tree, it probably had other serious health issues too.
I went, at most, 5 inches below the surface of the soil (which was a little higher than the sidewalk). 3 inches below the sidewalk line. It all kind of varies because the sidewalk slopes pretty good.
Originally Posted by stock
Border I put in is new 3 x 5 pressure landscape ties from HD. Three layers high, the top of the bottom layer is flush with the high point of the sidwalk.
Gator bag came off in the fall when the tree went dormant. I'm in the habit of only putting it on when it's full. I didn't water enough last summer. It was the tree's second year, so I was a little lax. Leaves browned at the edges.
No painting or pointing on my side of the street, but two new construction homes went in across the street. There's a third lot that's about to be built on (the reason for the tree pit change. To "protect" it during construction).
BTW, I have a case of beer for you. Just haven't had a chance to get it out to you. Maybe Saturday. We're thinking we might check out your shop and then grab something at Earth, Bread.
Thanks for the beer! Look forward to maybe seeing you Saturday.
The painting or pointing questions is that some times acid is used to clean the bricks and if the tree is not protected, not good. Also painters sometimes move the top of the soil aside and dump extra paint in the dirt and then cover it up.
Gator bags grow mold in the winter, so that's good.
5" is OK, most roots are lower.
PT wood leaches chemicals, that could be an issue.
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