Trees are known to outlive many human generations throughout its lifetime. Planting a new tree is a great environmental act. As Northern Colorado continues to grow, many natural areas are being developed, so when you plant a tree, the earth thanks you. It’s important to plant a new tree correctly otherwise it will die in the first 20 to 30 years of its life. Planting a tree is relatively simple. Check out our blog about basic tree planting steps here. This blog serves to explain what the root flare is and its impact on the success of tree growth.
The root flare is the base of the tree that sits at soil level. It’s the part of the root system that is responsible for the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Without this exposure, the tree will have to work much harder for the nutrients it needs to sustain a long life. Oxygen is easiest to access within the first 18” of soil. When a tree is planted with the root flare at the top of the soil, the deep roots will grow parallel to the ground within the 18” of oxygen-rich soil as opposed to trees that are planted deeply.
To find the root flare, look for the base of the tree that has tentacle-like pieces starting to spread out as the roots. It is where the bark starts. You know when you were a little kid running through the yard and you tripped on those big root pieces sticking out of the ground right by the tree trunk? That’s the root flare!
If you are planting a tree from a pot, remove all miscellaneous roots that are not directly connected to the base of the tree, now known as the root flare. The anchor roots will be developed directly from the root flare. These anchor roots are the ones you want to keep that will grow in the top 18” of soil. Plant the tree with the root flare resting on the top layer of soil and the anchor roots no deeper than 18”. Now you’re ready to continue saving the earth!