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Root pruning


Root pruning is one of the essentials to best results in planting trees. As a rule, more than enough of the root system has been removed by the nurseryman in digging and so farther reduction is not desirable from that standpoint alone. Injury in digging and, shipping, however, makes slight root pruning before planting desirable. The object should be to put the root system in as good shape with the slightest amount of removal as possible. Practically no attention need be given the small roots. The ends of the large ones, however, will demand attention as the wounds in digging are left rough and splintered.

The ends of roots should be cut back far enough to secure smooth wounds to facilitate healing. Badly broken or split roots should be removed.

Root distribution
The mots should be as well distributed around the tree in planting as possible. Frequently they are practically all on one side, and under such conditions it is difficult if not impossible to have them properly distributed. In such cases care should be taken to have the greater part of the roots on the side on which they will give the greatest support to the tree. The chief thing to consider will be the prevailing wind.

Slant of tree in planting
It is usually a good practice to slant the tree more or less when planting. The amount of inclination varies in different sections depending mainly upon exposure to high winds. Slanting at an angle of 8 or 10 degrees will usually suffice. Not only does this inclination help prevent the trees from becoming up-rooted, but it also aids in protecting the trunk against run scald. On hilly sites the trees should be inclined up hill even though the wind be from the opposite direction. In the latter case, however, the inclination will be less than if the site is protected from heavy winds.

Filling the hole
A great many newly planted trees die because of carelessness in filling the hole. It is important that this work be carefully done. If the soil which was cemwed from the bottom of the excavation be hard and lumpy, it should be placed to one side and the surface soil used first in filling. The main thing to remember in filling is that every part of the root system should be in contact with the soil. Unless it is the exposed areas will be points for the loss of moisture and the drying out of the roots. The soil surrounding the roots must be fine if they are to be well covered. Either loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole, or throw in two or three spadesful of loose earth so that when the tree is put in it will sink sufficiently into the soil so that all under surfaces will be in good contact with it.

The soil may then be filled in using the, fine soil first, and compacting it well around the roots. There is little danger of compacting the soil too much unless it be of a clayey nature, and somewhat moist. After the first few spadesful have been put in, the soil may be packed by tramping. Be careful in compacting the soil not to crowd the tree out of place. The soil should be mounded at the base of the tree above the natural level of the land; the top two inches being left as loose and fine as possible.