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 Post subject: trunk damage
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 8:22 am 
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I have a nutall oak tree that I planted a year and a half ago. It was growing well until this spring, when cracks appeared at the base of the trunk, and now the bark has opened into a gaping hole. Please help with advice. It has some very small insects like tiny ants occasionally going into the hole. Some of the leaves have brown edges as well.


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 Post subject: Re: trunk damage
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
The tree is in stress, and the bugs and such are a sign of that stress, that's when they arrive.

How was the tree planted? If it is too deep (I see the flare, so I'm guessing that isn't the problem) or if the roots weren't untangled and spread out when you planted (taking it out of a pot or balled and burlap isn't enough - soak the roots, spread them out, help the tree get established) are common problems. Other issues might be too much or too little water, poor drainage, or, if a chemical product such as a "weed and feed" (which is not an organic choice, and the package says don't use near trees) has been used in the area. If there is residue from previous treatment on the property, then zeolite products might help (go poke around in the Library of Organic Information).

The crack in the bark doesn't look good. Look up "Sick Tree Treatment" and do that for the tree and around in the area, and hope that the bark will heal and the problem will go away. If the bark and cambium crack all around the tree it is effectively girdled, and will die. The tree hasn't been in the ground for so long that it can't be replanted if necessary. Look up tree planting also. I replanted a weeping yaupon for my next door neighbor a year after a landscaper put it in for her. It was still wobbly in the hole, so was pretty easy to remove and reset in the soil properly. It's doing great now. As long as there's life (in that tree), there's hope!

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 Post subject: Re: trunk damage
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 7:37 am 
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Thanks for your suggestions. I think the tree was planted ok originally as I followed the protocol on this site, but I agree that it has been stressed. Most likely the stress came from my failing to water my trees during a very dry spell over the winter and then the spring brought spells of hot then cold then very wet weather. I am now applying the sick tree treatment, spraying with Garrett juice, aerating, compost addition. I'm unable to locate the greensand or other additives, which I probably need as my yard holds water due to its clay composition. The tree seems to be growing and the hole and cracks are not increasing, so I'm hoping it will gradually heal. I've also used orange oil and diatomaceous earth so the bugs are not around anymore. Hoping for the best!


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 Post subject: Re: trunk damage
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 8:09 pm
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Though it comes out expensive, I see greensand is available via Amazon. You might have luck finding a less expensive source if you visit the Find a Store, Service, or Product page (from the Dirt Doctor home page, there is a drop down menu under "Products" that takes you to this page). Greensand is a source of iron.

Good luck!

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