P&PDL Picture of the Week for
October 19, 2009

Root disturbance in large trees

Mike Mickelbart, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Trees in the urban environment are often under constant stress due to factors such as compaction, inadequate water and nutrients, and mechanical damage. Trees in these situations often show signs of decline as they age. Often, the observed decline is due to root disturbance of some sort. The trees in the photos are likely to show signs of stress next year because of the root disturbance that has occurred during road work. In trees of this size, the best thing that the homeowner can do is to be sure the tree is not exposed to any unnecessary stress by watering during dry periods and perhaps fertilizing in the spring.

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Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service