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Old 02-12-2009, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,303 posts, read 22,798,250 times
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I have a 15 ft. Longleaf pine tree that I have had planted for 3 years. It has grown rapidly and is a very healthy tree. Yesterday evening (Wednesday evening) we had a squall line of severe thunderstorms with extremely gusty winds. Today I was working out in the lawn and noticed the tree was leaning more than usual. I checked it and its kindof "wallowing" around on the ground. I love this tree and would hate for it to die, or have to cut it, but if it gets larger and falls, it will fall directly over on one of the cars in a few years. We have had freezing temperatures last week (but I do not think the ground was frozen that much, because it does not stay below freezing here during the day like it does up north) and this week its been quite mild in the 60s and 70s, followed by heavy rains, so wondering if its where the ground has been saturated and then where it thawed after a light freeze last week if this is why its like that.

Is there any cause for concern? Is there anything I can do? Maybe tie it up and hope the roots strengthen this summer?
Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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I would be concerned that there are now air pockets around the roots of the tree, and that the tap root has not taken hold. Air around the roots is the death of a tree/shrub. Did you plant the tree yourself?

I would get it upright, water thoroughly, and possible add soil and compact the soil around it (to some degree - it's a balance between securing the tree and compacting it so much that water could never penetrate). You may want to stake it for the time being, between 6 months and 1 year at the most while the tap root reestablishes, if it does.

When I've seen newer trees that have come loose, often it was because the hole dug into clay soil was over-amended, creating a large "pot" that the tree is sitting in. Do you have clay soil? The other thing that happens in this scenario is that the top half of the tree flourishes in the first few years outpacing the root growth. All the nutrients in the amended soil spur that growth, but the roots are only in that "pot" that was created in the clay.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Floribama
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Sounds like it may have circling roots from growing in a pot for too long. If you can find a Longleaf "plug" that has an air pruned taproot it may be a good idea to replace it. If you can find a bare root seedling that has been undercut in a nursery bed that might be worth a try too. I'm always weary of pines that have been growing in a round nursery pot.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Remove it and replace it. It'll be a big danger when it is older.

Roots stabilize trees against wind: longleaf pine - Ask Nature - the Biomimicry Design Portal: biomimetics, architecture, biology, innovation inspired by nature, industrial design

When the new tree is planted, verify the taproot isn't broken and dig and fill a cone-shaped spot in the hard soil underneath the rootball, so the root will start downward.

In Florida, the big ficus trees were always falling over in the hurricanes. No taproots. Just feeder roots that would go from Miami to Orlando.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Floribama
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Longleafs are actually pretty good at growing new taproots if the original was pruned off, if they're small.

I planted a "plug" last winter and yesterday I decided I wanted to move it to another spot so I could plant my apple tree, I wasn't expecting the large taproot that I found after just one year.

http://i207.photobucket.com/albums/bb183/escambiaguy/tree%20pics/taproo.jpg (broken link)
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Yes - I planted it about 3 or 4 years ago. I bought it from a nursery in eastern North Carolina and paid a pretty penny for it too. It was coming out of its grass-like stage. It was only about 6 inches tall, now its 15 ft. tall.

Yes, we have clay soil, but some plain looking brown dirt as well. Just depends on what part of the lawn, but I think this tree is in red clay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art123 View Post
Did you plant the tree yourself?

Do you have clay soil? The other thing that happens in this scenario is that the top half of the tree flourishes in the first few years outpacing the root growth. All the nutrients in the amended soil spur that growth, but the roots are only in that "pot" that was created in the clay.
Yes! When I pulled the tree out of the containter, there was alot of roots around the bottom outside perimeter. I was told by the seller that I should "break them up / loosen" them a little and it would be fine. Can I just try to dig it up and try to loosen the roots again? This tree has just gotten to where its so nice looking and everyone comments on it. It would be a shame for me to have to remove it now. I guess I may have to though. I was told before this could happen, but kinda hoped it would come out of it and grow good roots.

I do have another Longleaf pine thats about 30 ft away from this one that is just coming out of its grass-like stage, but it was much younger and smaller when I planted it and did not have that root bound look to it.... hopefully it will not have this problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Sounds like it may have circling roots from growing in a pot for too long. If you can find a Longleaf "plug" that has an air pruned taproot it may be a good idea to replace it. If you can find a bare root seedling that has been undercut in a nursery bed that might be worth a try too. I'm always weary of pines that have been growing in a round nursery pot.
Sure looks like it... its already leaning toward one of the cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Remove it and replace it. It'll be a big danger when it is older.
I dont recall pruning anything when I planted it from the pot. I just "loosened" up the roots somewhat and planted it. Instead of cutting it now, I wonder if I can just keep topping it and let it grow out rather than up? There is a thicket of Longleaf pines in someones lawn here in town and one is under a powerline. The city keeps topping it (has done this for years) and it grows out, rather than up. I would rather try to save this one though if possible. Thanks for all of the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
Longleafs are actually pretty good at growing new taproots if the original was pruned off, if they're small.

I planted a "plug" last winter and yesterday I decided I wanted to move it to another spot so I could plant my apple tree, I wasn't expecting the large taproot that I found after just one year.
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Floribama
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Order one from this place...
Pinus palustris: (Longleaf Pine)

She undercuts all of her trees several times and sends them bareroot. No worries about spiraling taproots. Once planted these trees will send down a new taproot.
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Old 02-14-2009, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
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Thanks for that link. I think I have bought something from here before, but cant recall.

I wonder how tall this tree for $6.00 is and if its out of its grass-stage. Its my understanding that these stay in a small grass-like stage for several years. Mine was just coming out of that when I planted it.... guess I will have to chop it down. Painful, this is one of my favorite trees ever and it was just getting to a size where I could enjoy it, now I have to start over.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Floribama
13,576 posts, read 29,563,482 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennesseestorm View Post
Thanks for that link. I think I have bought something from here before, but cant recall.

I wonder how tall this tree for $6.00 is and if its out of its grass-stage. Its my understanding that these stay in a small grass-like stage for several years. Mine was just coming out of that when I planted it.... guess I will have to chop it down. Painful, this is one of my favorite trees ever and it was just getting to a size where I could enjoy it, now I have to start over.
It will be small and in the grass stage, that's what you want because that's when the taproot is being formed. Once it comes out of the grass stage it's pretty much too late, that's why I'm weary of any pine growing in a pot. Sometimes the taproot is 3ft long before it comes out of the grass stage.
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,303 posts, read 22,798,250 times
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Thanks.

I tried emailing her from the site to ask how large it was and the email bounced back. Not sure whats going on there.

I think my other Longleaf is much younger. Its still in its grass-like stage, but not sure if it will pop out this year or not. It was in a much smaller pot and did not appear to be "root-bound" at all. Hopefully at least that one will be OK.

Someone at a local nursery told me not to give up hope yet on the bigger one I have in question. They said with the strong winds we had it was not out of the ordinary for this to happen to some trees that "catch" alot of wind. As mentioned, this tree was not at all like this before and we had winds gusting to about 55-60 mph and thats when this happened. It was some of the worst wind I remember in a very long time. Also, as mentioned, the ground had been frozen, then thawed, then was saturated with all of that rain we had and was loosened. Then again it could be root-bound as well like we have discussed and it may have to come tumbling down, but I may wait a year or so to see what happens. It may just die then I can cut it without feeling so bad?
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