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.