Cutting pine tree roots | Removing basal branches from willow tree | Gladiolus and daffodil not planted yet
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Issue: June 22, 2002

Cutting pine tree roots

Question:

We have several large (40-feet tall) pine trees, whose surface roots are damaging sidewalks and patio concrete. Can these large roots be cut about 5 feet from the trunk to prevent further damage, or must these trees be removed?

Answer:

At that distance from a large tree, the chances of damaging the tree are pretty high. If the tree does not die, or at least lose branches, its stability has been affected and the tree is much more likely to blow over in a high wind. The extent of this danger depends on the rest of the tree's root system. Just be aware you are removing a large part of the water and mineral gathering root surface, and a significant portion of the anchorage of the tree. The cost of removal may be high, but also consider roof damage if the tree falls. If you wish to keep the tree, an option is to build a boardwalk over the sidewalk and raised deck over the patio.

Removing basal branches from willow tree

Question:

I planted two willow trees last year. They seem to be doing well, but they have a lot of sprouts around the bottom. Should I cut them back so the tree grows better?

Answer:

If the top of the tree is looking good, yes, remove the sprouts at the bottom. Low branches on the trunk are okay and help add diameter to the trunk, so they can stay for a couple of years. Anything coming from ground level or even about a foot above the ground should be removed.

Gladiolus and daffodil not planted yet

Question:

I have some daffodil and gladiolus bulbs that I haven't planted. Can I plant them now? Should I store them for later?

Answer:

The gladiolus should be planted. They may or may not bloom this summer. They should be able to produce foliage and feed the bulb, keeping it in much better condition than if the corms are just stored.

The daffodils may be stored in the refrigerator in some moist vermiculite or sand. Do not over-moisten and do not freeze them. Plant the daffodils in the fall. They can also be planted now but will not develop leaves until late in the winter. In either case, if they have not deteriorated too much, they may survive and at least produce leaves next year. If they survive, they may not bloom for a couple of years.

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Send your gardening questions to Yard and Garden, ATTN: Dr. Curtis Smith NMSU Cooperative Extension Service 9301 Indian School Road, NE, Suite 112 Albuquerque, NM 87112

Curtis W. Smith, Ph.D., is an Extension Horticulture Specialist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service. New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator.

Please join us on Southwest Yard & Garden, a weekly garden program made for gardeners in the Southwest on: KNME-TV Albuquerque at 9:30 p.m. Saturdays, KENW-TV Portales at 10 a.m. Saturdays, and KRWG-TV Las Cruces at 11:30 a.m. Saturdays (repeated at 1 p.m. Thursdays.)