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Water Wise

air date: January 7, 2017

@TXPlantGuy Daniel Cunningham from Water University from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center – Dallas takes the waste out of water with DIY tips. On tour in Georgetown, Williamson County Master Gardeners demonstrate EarthKind techniques from food to flowers. Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’, is a water thrifty thornless small tree that attracts pollinators for months. Plus, find out why a young oak tree fell over and if it can be saved. Trisha demonstrates how to prune pear trees for health and production.

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Question of the Week

Can I save my young live oak tree that fell over and has a wound?

Thanks to Justin Derx for this great question about his live oak tree!  He planted the tree a few years ago and twice, he’s come home to find it lying on its side.

Both times, he’s staked his tree and then removed the stakes when it seemed stable.  Now, it has a large wound at the base.

First, carefully dig up this small tree and inspect the roots. Dig around it as wide as the canopy and carefully move soil away as you dig deeper.

It looks like the tree was planted too deeply. Once the tree’s out of the ground, brush off as much soil as possible to inspect for girdling roots that grow in a circle. They stunt the tree’s growth to keep it from setting in wide anchoring roots.

If it DOES have girdling roots, it may be best to start over unless you can spread them out. But if the roots are growing mostly radially, like spokes on a wheel, then consider replanting it. Don’t plant it below the root flare at the bottom of the trunk. It’s best to plant higher than you think you should, since trees will settle in.

As for the wound, it doesn’t appear to me to be something that the tree couldn’t heal itself, given time, and I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless it gets worse.

Watch more Question of the Week videos on YouTube →

Plant of the Week

Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’

Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’

Palo Verde ‘Desert Museum’ is a medium-sized deciduous tree that makes a beautiful addition to any landscape, but which will look especially at home in a more xeric-style garden. ‘Desert Museum’ is a thornless cultivar of the native retama. It blooms longer, too, even attracting pollinators into fall. The striking green bark and wispy leaves of this desert tree give the garden a stunning visual focal point, providing year-round beauty. It grows to about 15’ – 20’, lending light shade to plants below it. Be sure to plant in an area with extremely good drainage, perhaps even elevating the roots on a berm if your soil has any significant clay content. Give it full sun and water sparingly, if at all, once established. As with most desert trees, ‘Desert Museum’ has an extreme branching habit and will need to be pruned regularly to keep it in shape. But unlike many other highly-branched desert trees, ‘Desert Museum’ grows mostly upright and tends to stay single-trunked. Start analyzing the branch structure from the very beginning, and then continue to do so at least yearly, which will allow you to direct the trees growth properly and easily.

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