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Sunday - February 14, 2010

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall and we are considering trimming it back to make it a little lighter and trying to right it. It is about 30 years old and about 10-15 feet wide.

ANSWER:

We would think this is a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained. It won't cost you much except some labor and maybe some compost to try to save the Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), but the sooner, the better. Dig the hole larger, mix in some good quality compost for drainage, and right the tree and get it back in place. You probably should try staking it, there are various kinds of staking that you can pick up at a home improvement store. Don't fertilize! When a plant is in stress (and an uprooted plant is definitely stressed) you don't want to encourage it to put on new growth, which is what fertilizer does. Those roots need time to recover, and they need to regrow the hair-like rootlets that transmit the water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. We would recommend waiting until you get the tree up and staked, and then do some pruning. Not too much all at once, it still needs those leaves to produce food for the whole plant, but it will be easier to see what you're doing and where it is out of balance if you have it upright. After you have it firmly in place and staked, stick a hose down in the soft soil, and let it dribble very slowly until water comes to the surface. If it takes more than about a half hour to drain back into the soil, you may still have too much clay and not enough compost, so go heavy on the compost to begin with, mixing it in with the resident clay. If the tree survives, remember to prune regularly and try to avoid this happening again. Late winter is a good time to prune, when the plant is at least semi-dormant, which may also help it recover.

 

 

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