contaminated soil - Knowledgebase Question

san jose, Ca
Avatar for jennifertr1
Question by jennifertr1
October 15, 2010
hi ,
we just removed a red maple tree from the middle of the front lawn. planted the maple over a year with beautify healthy leaves around Feb 2010 after that noticed leave dried up, left it for 4 months and removed on July. noticed the roots of the tree rotten, black color soil and smell very strong.
please advise us how to get rid of these problem and we would like to grow a tangarine tree

Answer from NGA
October 15, 2010
Sounds like root rot affected your maple tree. This can happen if the tree is overwatered and/or the soil does not drain well. Poorly draining soils can actually suffocate the roots by driving all the oxygen out of the soil. The best approach is to dig out all of the decomposing roots and any soil that contains rotted roots and a black color. Then loosen the soil by amending it with some compost or other organic matter. You can replant a maple in the same spot as long as you correct the drainage issue prior to planting. Amending the soil with compost will help improve the drainage but you'll also want to monitor your watering practices to make sure the same thing does not happen to your new tree. I think the best way to water new landscape trees and shrubs is to make a watering basin or watering well beneath the plant by mounding up a few inches of soil in a circle all around the tree, about 12" out from the trunk. When it's time to water, fill the basin, allow to drain, then fill a second time. Watering in this way will concentrate the moisture directly over the root system and allow it to trickle down, wetting the entire root mass. Water deeply once each week and your new maple should thrive.

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