Quick Questions of the Week: September 26, 2019

Roots of bald cypress will soon girdle one another, eventually cutting off the supply lines of water and nutrients. Something needs to be done very soon.

1. “When is the best time to remove bothersome roots?”

Mid-fall (October/November) is the best time to remove any roots that are threatening pavement, other roots, etc. That gives the tree the longest possible time to regrow roots in preparation for next summer’s hot, dry weather.

However, that doesn’t give you a blank check to remove as many roots as you want to. The total number of roots removed shouldn’t add to be more than something like 15 to 20 percent of the diameter of the trunk. Example: a tree with a trunk that’s 10 inches in diameter can’t afford to lose more than a cumulative 1-1/2 or 2 inches of roots in one year.

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This St. Augustine sod looks great now, but it wouldn’t have time to develop deep roots before cold weather hits. It’s too late to plant it in most of the state.

2. “I want to plant St. Augustine sod, but you said it’s too late to plant it. What can I do now?”

Unless you’re in the southern 20 percent of Texas where winters are almost always quite mild, your safest recourse is to plant annual ryegrass now to give a temporary cover of vigorous green grass over the winter. It will die out in late April or early May, and that’s the perfect time to plant your St. Augustine sod.

At that point in late spring you would spray with a glyphosate weedkiller to get rid of all the rye and other vegetation. Wait 10 days, mow low to remove all the stubble and rototill with a rear-tine tiller to pulverize the soil to a depth of 2 inches. Rake the soil to a smooth grade and lay your sod. Water immediately and daily for the first couple of weeks and stand back to enjoy the results.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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