Extension - Rooted In Science

I spent the day in Gainesville, FL at the Environmental Horticulture Tree Unit with Dr. Ed Gilman. We spent most of the day discussing the latest and greatest research from his program with trees and their maintenance. He is looking at different methods of pruning trees and the effects of wind on those trees. He is also spending a great deal of time characterising roots and different production techniques to arrive a what should be considered a "good" root structure.
Bad roots!
Along with the many contributions he has made in this area, he will have some interesting findings in the next few years as his research advances. Experiments with trees and roots takes a while to conduct. Obviously roots like any other organism flourish where they are the happiest. Unfortunately in containers, that is in a circle around the sides and bottoms of pots; mostly on the shaded side. Some of the take home messages are that if you prune about an inch to two inches from around the sides and bottom of a produced container tree, this will eliminate most of the undesirable roots from the container. If this is done at every stage for stepping up trees and if they are planted at the right depth, root pruning should provide for a superior root structure. I learned that it is the absence of turf competition that has a greater affect on how a planted tree does, than the addition of mulch. I learned that trees settle from the breakdown of potting media and the weight of the tree itself on a planted site. I also learned that if a tree is planted too deep, the roots will first start growing up to get near the surface of the soil to where conditions are optimal.

Dr. Gilman will be conducting the Great Southern Tree Conference in Dec. 3 and 4 in Gainesville, so save the dates now. I think it will have a great deal of good information for those in the production side of things.
At left: Dr. Gilman, out-standing in his field.
His website for the findings of his research is http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/faculty/gilman.shtml with selected literature and some other link to hurricanes and trees, powerlines and trees and landscape plants.

Here is a link to more than you could ever want to know or read about trees and their maintenance. http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/masterindex.shtml#R

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