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Girdling keeps plant roots from spreading properly

Q: We notice that some of our trees don’t seem to be rooting into the soil properly. We assume it’s because of improper root ball preparation or girdling roots. Our test to see if the tree has rooted after at least one growing season is to bend the tree trunk back and forth. If the root ball under the soil easily moves when the tree is pushed, we assume that the tree has poor or little rooting into the surrounding soil.

Taper of the trunk indicates tree's strength

Q: I have read that African sumacs are fast growers. The African sumacs here seem to be at a stand still. I have had two in my backyard since April. They are alive but the canopy and trunk just seem the same; there has been perhaps 10 percent growth. The trees are solid with tall, thin trunks, about ½ to ¾ inch in diameter, with a canopy that branches out at 8 feet. There are no branches or leaves below that. The trees are staked high and the stems are all finger diameter. Will they take off eventually?

Fungus likely to blame for spots in lawn

Lawns are getting toasted right now. This is a stressful time of year for plants, particularly those that are not truly desert plants. Temperatures are out of their “comfort zone” and they become susceptible to diseases because they are less capable of fighting through a problem.

Water plants deeply to reduce temperature stress

The current high temperatures will have a big effect on plants’ water use and stress. Make sure landscape plants are deeply watered during this time of high stress. It is best that plants enter into the heat of the day with plenty of water rather than applying it at the end of the day.

Leaves will help tell story of plants' health

Q: Do desert-adapted shrubs like Texas rangers, cassias and others benefit from adding sulfur to the soil? Will they perform better in a pH around 7.5 as opposed to 8? I know it’s probably not necessary but I’m just wondering if the additional sulfur in the soil will help them thrive better or if it’s overkill.

Life is mostly peachy for healthy tree

Q: I attached a couple of pictures of my peach tree. It’s growing like gangbusters (I did a pretty good job pruning it back after your class), but something is going on with it because it’s dropping leaves and has this brown-leaf-edges thing going on. It had major growth (about 3 feet) after I harvested the peaches this month. Thank you for any help you can give.