Root flare???

StrawtherSeptember 30, 2012


This is my first post ever so bear with me everyone.

I've recently bought a ruby red grapefruit. I included a photo of the depth at which I planted it. Is this about the correct depth???

I'm assuming those are not adventitious roots?

In the photo I placed a stick in between 2 of the roots. It looks like the stem continues down further after these roots?? Should I try and continue down further to see if I can find the structural roots or are those roots seen in the photos the structural ones?

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Oh it is planted outside not in a container.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 6:24PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, it's always good to see a little root flare, but for me, this might be a wee too much :-) I'd be inclined to put just a bit more soil over those roots, so just the beginning of the root flare is visible. It's good to see a bit of root flare for folks who have issues with Phytophthora in their soils to prevent foot rot/gummiosis. Not sure why you're wanting to poke around down there? These are structural roots, so I would cover them up just a bit more. Make sure you maintain a nice slope, higher at the trunk, lower towards the edge of the well around the tree, so that the water sheds away from the trunk, and towards the well ring. The well ring should be at the tree's drip line (edge of canopy), where the tree's feeder roots are. And, you might want to consider adding your location and zone(s) as I have in my GW Zone field. Helps a lot to know where you are in the world :-)

Patty S.

1 Like    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:45PM
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i think he's asking if the root flare is below the exposed roots in the pic.

imho, the nursery planted it too deep and additional roots started growing.

from the link below:

The part of a plant where the stem and root system meet is called the "root collar" which has a "flare" where it transitions between the stem wood and the roots.

When root systems are buried, less soil oxygen and water is available. As a survival response, trees work to get roots closer to the soil surface where there is a more reliable source of both.

Identifying whether a trees is planted too deeply is fairly simple. One of the first things to look for is whether the trunk of the tree is going straight into the ground like a pole or whether it has some flare at the base.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Perils of Planting Trees Too Deeply

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:45AM
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Im also inclined to agree with Houstontexas123. It seems to me that the trunk continues on down after those roots ( see behind the stick, the trunk continues )that I exposed. But I would appreciate any input I can get.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 9:35AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Oh, duh. I was confused as to why you were wanting to dig down deeper. Yes, I do agree with houston on this. However, at this point, you're probably just better off planting the tree a bit on a mount, so that the trunk is definitely higher than the well ring. The water will flow away from the trunk, and not sit up against the trunk if you plant in this manner. If you can make sure the trunk isn't sitting in water, I think you'll be okay.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:39PM
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IMHO... okay, not so humble... roots above the ground is insanity... NO citrus grows that way naturally. Next, so long as you don't bury the bud union, it is completely irrelevant how deep you plant a citrus. In many cases if you plant it "too deep" in some people's opinion, the tree will only grow more roots from the buried "trunk". Those things you have sticking out from the trunk are ROOTS, not suckers; bury them and the tree will be stronger. Leave them exposed, you are inviting disease, critters, whatever to have a go at them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:27PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Actually, it does make a difference with citrus, John. As well as several other trees (Oaks, Avocados for example.) It has to do with Phytophthora. Citrus (and many other tree species) can develop Phytophthora infection if planted too deeply (still with the graft union above the ground, but planted so the flare is below the soil level). The tree's bark can break down, and cause a entry point for Phytophthora. So, planting citrus at the root flare helps to prevent this from happening. And, no disease will enter those exposed roots. Here is a very nice and simple explanation of why Rhizo, myself, and several others on our forum encourage folks to keep their citrus trees with root flares above ground. This is from a very respected Texas lab. Talk to your folks at Texas A&M, John. They will tell you the same thing.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Plant & Soil Lab: Planting Citrus

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:20PM
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Okay for containers... NO ONE in Texas plants their commercial trees with root crowns exposed... NO ONE!!

I have had this discussion with my advisors at Texas A&M Citrus Research Center.

Thanks for your continued support;; BTW, I am this week ...the entire week.. in an integrated management course of citrus with 3 experts from Mexico, 2 from Cuba, 1 from Brazil and 1 from Argentina... they know a whole lot more than I do ... about most things... and a little less about some things... like Meyers.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 12:23AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, we all make sure we plant here in California - especially S. California coastal areas - with the root flare showing some. And, I still have issues with Phytophthora in the root zone (no Gummiosis, but root rot). I know the Gulf states also can issues with this as well. Now, actual ROOTS exposed, not necessarily, but the very tops of the roots can eventually show if you've planted on a mound, and the soil naturally will wash away a bit. That's fine, that's normal. I can see this in the 120 acre orange orchard behind me that is about 40 years old. The trees were planted a bit higher on berms (very, very low berms), with the drip lines running along each side of the berm. All to promote excellent drainage, and we're on well draining soil here, not clay. You can see the root flares on all the trees, and some root "knuckles". Again, quite normal here in California. And for Texas, more info about why not to plant too deeply:

And, here is the exact recommendations of your Texas A&M Citrus Research Center in this article written by Dr. Sauls:

Here is the quote from this part of "Citruculture - Orchard Establishment" from the main "Texas Citrus & Sub-Tropical Fruits" Texas A&M website, John:

"The top of the root system should be set at or slightly above soil level. Either the top inch or so of medium should be removed and replaced with soil at planting or a 1-inch layer of soil should be placed over the medium as the final step in planting. The soilless medium has very good drainage; i.e., it contains considerable air space. Without sealing off unrestricted air movement into and out of the root ball, the medium will quickly dry out, causing moisture stress of the tree even though surrounding soil may be quite moist. Trees should be watered as soon as possible following planting to settle the tree and soil and to provide the initial moisture needed for establishment."

So, your Texas A&M experts also recommend this same planting method. You can run this document by your experts from Mexico and Cuba. See what they have to say. But this is just basic common sense for all tree planting, and most especially for tree species susceptible to Phytophthora. And citrus most certainly are in that category.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Be careful to read what you quote...."The top of the root system should be set at or slightly above soil level". Nothing here says the root crown should be exposed, only that it is good to plant it a bit higher than the surrounding soil; that is why a lot of growers plant on berms in heavy soil. Note: ALL the newest citrus plantings I have visited in California and Texas are planted at the same level as the surrounding soil; older orchards were planted on berms because they used flood irrigation; new plantings, almost without exception use drip system or micro sprinklers.

If you have problems with phytophera, try adding Azospirillum brasilense to your fertilizer regime; it is soooo good for the soil and definitely improves resistance to phytophera. Both the Cuban expert and the Mexican experts in my current course have high praise for A.b.... a nitrogen fixing bacteria.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 8:14PM
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Hello again,
I am including an update on the plants. I went ahead and cut off the roots that were in the original photos thinking they were adventitious roots that resulted from poor potting practices of the nursery. I followed the trunk down further about 3.5 inches and found atrophied roots but imho sufficient. I replanted at the appropriate height and have my finger in both photos showing where the adventitious roots were originally located. Other then some leaf curling 3 months later they are doing nicely.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That exposed bit of trunk has a strange look to the bark all firm, no cracks?
I would have left the roots on, added a touch more soil, and then bark-mulched to within
a half-inch of the trunk.

Is that an ash-slurry around the tree?


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:33AM
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