Friday, November 15, 2013

When Good Trees Commit Suicide

Susan's Eucalyptus
Q. I have a problem with my Eucalyptus. It has strange openings in the bark at the bottom that have some amber and black colored sap like deposits.  Mostly it just looks like it's suffering from something and has been like this, and slowly worsening for about 7-8 years.  We live about 17 blks from the beach in Santa Monica.

A. It appears your tree may have tree girdling roots’. This happens when a root somehow curls around the underground portion of the stem and physically prevents it from growing wider. The evidence? Where your tree comes in contact with the ground there is very little flair to the trunk (in other words it doesn’t taper out towards the bottom like it should). This can cause the tree to have dieback, seem less vigorous and eventually lead to catastrophic failure.

Sometimes girdling roots can be repaired, but generally it’s a good idea to remove the tree if its failure would damage property and/or have a high probability of causing injury or death. 
Tree showing signs of girdling roots. 

Notice lack of root flair near the base of the tree; this indicates tree girdling roots. 

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