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May 29, 2008


Sean Pecor

Catching up on your blog :) That's a nice oak! I think what might have happened is something that landscape architecture magazine talked about a year or so ago. In new subdivisions and particularly the land immediately surrounding the house, the soil is packed by heavy equipment into hardpan and then only the first few inches of soil is worked to seed the lawn. Apparently trees like the first 12" of soil to be looser than hardpan because they spend the first years sending out these thin feeder roots in all directions. If those little roots can't punch out of their small bowl fast enough the tree can struggle, for as long as 20 years, before it has those little roots established. Once they're established well enough then the tree gets more vibrant and really start to flourish. I guess this is a big challenge now for landscapers; they're revisiting 20 year old neighborhoods and finding 20 year old trees that are only averaging 12' tall. If the hardpan is hard enough, it can take 100 years for the hardpan to loosen up naturally.

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