This week I’m in Charlotte, NC as a guest of Bartlett Tree Experts. In addition to providing tree services, this company also maintains the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories and Arboretum. The latter includes over 300 acres of tree collections and ongoing research trials. Here’s a sampling of the tree research we had a chance to observe:
Demonstration espalier pruning…
Comparison of root barrier materials. This area was covered with a sidewalk for a number of years and then exposed to observe tree rooting patterns. The purpose of the research was to find which barriers were most likely to prevent sidewalk lifting and cracking.
A control – no barrier, lots of roots!
Black plastic – lack of rigidity allows roots to grow over (and through) the plastic, then under the sidewalk.
18″ rigid root barrier. One of the more effective means of keeping roots out.
Removing circling roots before planting
A tree whose roots had been corrected before planting. I think this had been planted in 2007, then lifted a few weeks ago.
A tree without root correction. It didn’t grow any better than the corrected tree, and those circling roots are well on their way to becoming girdling roots.
This company employs a number of PhDs whose research is routinely published in arboricultural and horticultural journals. It was fun to finally meet these researchers whose work I’ve been following for years.
Wouldn’t it be great if more companies put this much effort towards research?