Trees and Shrubs forum: rootbound tree

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Name: Jellybean
South Eastern Idaho (Zone 5a)
jellybean
Aug 2, 2015 4:15 PM CST
We planted A VERY rootbound tree 2 weeks ago. It is a shade master honey locust. Did cut through roots, up the sides in two places and tried to work them loose.tree now has some leaves turning yellow and falling off. Not many. Is this a sign we didn't cut enough? Should we dig it up again and cut more or will that be too much for it? Thanks for any help..
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Aug 4, 2015 11:15 AM CST
I don't know a thing about the Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Shademaster') since it doesn't grow this far south but if the leaves are yellowing and falling I'm wondering if the issue could be insufficient water reaching the roots? Has it been very hot in your part of the country, have you had much rainfall since planting the tree?

Hopefully someone with knowledge of that beautiful tree will pop in with advice.
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Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Aug 5, 2015 4:12 AM CST
In this heat your tree needs water every day it does not rain.
Name: Jellybean
South Eastern Idaho (Zone 5a)
jellybean
Aug 6, 2015 2:11 PM CST
Tree get plenty of water. Honey locust has a compound leaf with many leaflets. Just a few leaflets on lots of leaves are yellowing and falling. Is cutting through a heavily root bound mass twice , before planting , enough?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 9, 2015 5:00 AM CST
I would not cut any more roots. If there are any girdling roots (going around and around) they could have been teased out from the rootball and it sounds like you did that, but cutting the roots has likely reduced the amount of root that can supply water to the top growth. The plant's reaction may be to drop some of the leaves so that the tree needs to take up less water for transpiration.

Having said that, it's not totally unusual for even established honeylocusts to get a few yellowing leaflets, especially going towards fall. I would keep it watered to compensate for the root loss but don't get the soil too waterlogged, and don't disturb it further, leave the roots alone. They're pretty tough plants, there are a lot around here and we have one in our front yard.

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