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Tuesday - July 15, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Chinkapin Oak Planted Too Deep
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I planted a 15 gallon chinkapin oak last year and it's doing very well. As I didn't know that much about tree planting at that time, I planted it too deep by probably 3 inches. Is this a very serious problem? And, if I need to remedy it, which option is better: to dig out the tree and plant it again or to create a circle (several feet in diameter) around the tree where the soil has been lowered 3 inches?

ANSWER:

Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) may have trouble with being planted deeper than usual sometime in the future. They like growing in rocky or sandy soils that are well drained. By planting the tree deep, the tree roots are not able to exchange air as they should and may be too moist. The roots may start to decline which will cause the tree to grow poorly and perhaps die.

Instead of replanting the tree and causing additional trauma to the tree roots, I think that the best solution is to dig out the top layer of soil so that you end up with the tree being planted at the same depth as it was growing in the nursery pot (3 inches as you mention). The downside of this solution is that it will create a low area for water to settle when it rains. This will be fine during the infrequent Austin rains, but can be a problem if this tree is frequently heavily irrigated. If this is going to be an issue, when you remove the soil from the top of the root ball, try to extend this out and away from the tree to provide a natural drainage swale.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

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