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Trunk Flare Exposure – Nothing but Positive Newsletter





Newsletter 2015

Trunk Flare Exposure – Nothing but Positive



Trees that have had work done to expose flares often have depressions at the base of the trees as a result of the soil removal. Water standing in these depressions after rains is not a problem. Remember that when soil covered the flare, the bark of the flare stayed moist all the time. Most trees are too deep in the ground and I recommend this procedure strongly. Arborists that are into tree health offer this service and do the work with a device called the air-spade. It is by far the best route to go. It is a fancy sandblasting type tool that blows air (no sand) at a high velocity and removes the soil without damaging even the smallest roots. A similar tool is available called the Air Knife.

Trees too deep in the ground, an all to common problem, have two basic problems. When the trunk flare is underground, it stays moist and doesn't breathe properly as bark is supposed to do. Soil that is too high on the trunk also often hides circling and girdling roots that choke the tree and drastically slow down growth. Trees grown in containers are highly subject to this damaging condition.

How do you uncover your own root flares? The simple answer is that it needs to be done VERY carefully. If you do the soil removal yourself, use hand tools and gloved hands being extremely careful not to damage the wet bark tissue. Water can be used but only with a soft flowing stream. Strong water blasts can severely damage the soft bark on the base of the trees.

Once exposed, the small roots trying to grow up to get air should be removed and the depression caused by the trunk/root flare exposure should be left open. As the flare expands from the growth of a more vigorous tree, the open dish will fill in. All I would put in the depression is a thin layer of shredded cedar mulch. Deep holes created by flare exposure may need special treatments of covers or walls. Some of that work is covered on our web site

To discuss this newsletter or any other topic, tune in Sunday 8am -11am central time to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show. The call-in phone number is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

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Naturally yours,
Howard Garrett

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