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MinervaFlora - July Update

The subject of this article came about recently when I spied, while on a walk, a line of recently planted trees each sporting a ‘tree volcano’ at their base. If you garden, you may know this term, but some may not. Now that I am in a Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Ohio Trees specialization class, I’m learning about trees and how to treat them.  My point? Tree volcanos are bad for the tree!


By placing the mulch (or soil, etc.) next to and high up on the trunk, it can decay the bark. Also, tree roots typically grow out and not down, so when you slope the mulch or soil, the roots will grow in a circular motion, which eventually kills the tree by girdling the trunk and restricting vascular flow.I heard recently that Bexley, Ohio now now has an ordinance against tree volcanos. I’m not sure what the punishment is, but they intend to enforce it. By the way, the city of Bexley is an arboretum.


While we’re on the subject, lets go over proper tree planting:

  1. Pick your tree, then pick the right place for it. (Right plant, right place)

  2. Check sun, soil, climate requirements.

  3. Water the tree, then remove it from pot, if potted. Handle the root ball, not the trunk.

  4. Liberate the roots! Loosen them so they can grow more readily once planted. Remove any that are circling the root ball.

  5. Find the root flare (where the primary roots meet flare of trunk). You may need to remove some soil from the top to find this, as many nurseries top w/soil above the root flare.

  6. Dig a hole the depth of the root ball (from bottom to root flare) and 2-3 times as wide as the root ball and place tree in hole. Root flare must be above the soil line. (Plant it high, tree won’t die. Plant it low, tree won’t grow)

  7. If the tree is in wire or burlap, cut them at least 1/2 way down the root ball once the tree is placed in hole.

  8. Replace soil, creating a donut shaped trench around trunk. Add 4” of mulch, but keep mulch away from tree trunk. By no means create a mulch volcano!

  9. Water deeply 2-3 times per week.

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