Buying Trees in Containers

girdlingroots4Are you purchasing a tree growing in a container? If so, you don’t want the roots to look like these with girdling roots that are wrapped around the trunk, either just below ground or at the base of the tree.
It may take years, but those encircling roots can eventually kill the tree. Roots growing this way are likely to choke off water and nutrients, and the trunk may get squeezed and weakened, perhaps even lean to one side. Leaves grow smaller in size or drop early, or the tree bears dead branches or leaves and the tree may die a slow death.

girdlingroots1Roots normally flare out, but in small containers or left in a container for a long time, the roots reach the edge of the container and turn in circles. Inspect the root system before you purchase a tree if possible. At the very least, inspect the roots before you plant the tree and cut any girdling roots. Some can be loosened. Woody roots may have to be cut.

girdlingroots2For information on planting trees appropriately, see the Purdue Extension guide by Lindsey Purcell:

West Lafayette’s Tree Manual and Guide to the West Lafayette Landscape Ordinance