Getting to the problem’s root

AT times, one needs to go to the “root of the problem” with certain aspects of gardening and these photos will give you some idea of where I’m heading this week.

1. Circling roots stunt growth

1. Root-bound plants have little chance of survival.

The photo of circling roots, referred to as “root bound”, demonstrates that the plant will never develop properly. As it grows, the roots will continue to circle resulting in instability.

While it may continue to grow for a number of years, it could fall over as the result of any period of prolonged wet and windy weather.

The circling roots are caused by the plant being in the pot too long. At times, garden centres may offer cheap plants. There are often very good reasons, such as when a plant has finished flowering. Obviously, the nursery does not want to keep it for 12 months to the next flowering season. Or simply, it may be a slow seller.

However, at times the plants may have been sitting around for several years getting more root bound as time goes by.

If you are thinking about buying plants advertised as very cheap or a clearance sale, you need to think carefully about buying them. You are perfectly within your rights to ask for the plant to be tipped out of the container to check the roots (you wouldn’t buy a car without looking at the engine).

The bottom line is: if an item is very cheap, there is usually a very good reason.

2. Swings can ringbark

NOW to the effect of rope swings on trees. Such treatment can effectively ringbark the branch and it could fail. It’s not a good idea to see a child projected through the air or the branch falling!

If you really want to use the tree for a swing, and this has been the case for centuries, protect the bark. One idea is to use a section of a car tyre over the top of the branch, although even this can still result in damage to the bark.

Remember the bark of the tree is the “skin” of the tree. Like our skin, once it gets damaged all sorts of problems arise.

Equally, I see children’s tree houses affixed to branches with huge nails or bolts right through the branch. The worst examples I have seen are in eucalyptus trees, which worryingly shed branches at times without warning.

3. Trunks needs to breathe

THE last pictorial example is, with the best intentions, an attempt to keep a tree on a bank without sufficient air space around the trunk.

In this picture, the surround is almost half a metre up the trunk, which means the tree is going to take a little longer to die than if one has built a garden bed around the trunk.

The latter will rot the bark at ground level as effective as using an axe to ringbark the tree as the early settlers did to clear the land. Trees should be looked after like any other member of your family, they could be around for a long time, often for generations.

THE Horticultural Society’s Spring Exhibition and Rose Show is on at the Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit Forrest, noon-5pm,  on Saturday, November 17 and 11.30am to 4pm on Sunday. The rose display alone is stunning and there are reasonably priced plants to buy. Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

RECENTLY,  I mentioned the effectiveness of Tankworks’ raised veggie beds but, at that time, the local distributor had closed down. Now, they are available from Territory Tanks at Pialligo.

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