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         "The Legend of The Texas Bluebonnet"  -  The Devils' Cigar


 

Global Forests -
Little Known or Interesting Factoids About Trees and Tree Physiology

Karen L. Rockoff
Master Certified Landscaper TX 4803
ISA Certified Arborist TX 3308A
Certified Oak Wilt Specialist TX 0291

Phone: 830-955-0304   Email: klrockoff@yahoo.com

Karen Rockoff is the primary contact 
Jim is in the hospital & will take calls through Karen.
Karen Rockoff is the only certified arborist

Contact:  Cell: 830.955.0304
                     Karen Rockoff  Arborist  - TDA Certified
e mail:
klrockoff@yahoo.com

SCENIC HILLS NURSERY 




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Very Special Trees 
My Tree Live Oak Tree

My Tree
Looking For Root Flare 
For The Kestrel® Propiconazole 14.3 MEC systemic Fungicide for Oak Wilt Injection
 
Note: We have included many detailed photos on this page
for your benefit......please allow time for loading.....
 
Healthy Trees With  Healthy Roots. The correct location of the root flare is the portion
of the tree where the trunk widens at the base as it transitions the root system.
 
Directions For Use of KestrelR  Propiconazole 14.3 MEC Systemic Fungicide
 
Read the complete label instructions before attempting to treat your trees. 
 
 
Correct location for Injector Placement
 
Uptake and distribution of  "Kestrel"  is more effective when injections are made into the root flare  or the root zone. In addition, wounds created in the flare root area close more rapidly in  comparison to wounds above the flare root area. (This statement is not true, the healing process is the same through the tree )  Not every tree develops the perfect root flare for the injection process. There are many deformities, either by nature itself or damage created by human intervention.  (To understand the uptake process --
See Water Movement in Trees  http://www.800oakwilt.com/watermovement.html ) 
 
Tree Preparation
 
         1. Heavy, thick, or loose bark may be carefully shaved to form a smother injection point and to ensure the operator that the drill hole penetrated through the xylem or sap wood. ( 2 - 3 outer growth rings.) 
 
          2. If the flare roots are not clearly exposed, carefully remove 2-4 inches of soil from the base of the tree to uncover the top of the flare roots.  Brush away loose soil.
 
          3.  Drill holes through the bark, into the sapwood 3/4" to 1 1/4 inch, using a clean sharp drill bit. (This depth will avoid the tee from bottoming out.) Drill hole 5/16 diameter should be adequate to allow insertion of the injection tees and formation of air tight contact between active xylem and the delivery point of the injection tees. Generally, a drill hole diameter of 5/16 inch for oaks is appropriate. Space the injector portals 3 - 6 inches a part around the base of the tree.   (My recommendation is to drill portals 3 - 4 inches apart, as the more portals will provide greater distribution around the tree and improve the uptake. ) Follow manufacturer's instructions for the particular injection device to reach the active xylem layer or sapwood.
          4. Disinfect the drill bit between trees with household bleach (20% solution), ethanol, or other disinfectant. Rinse bit with clean water after disinfecting. ( Lysol, Antibacterial kitchen spray contains "Consan 20" or ammonium chlorides, which is not corrosive to your equipment and ready available at your grocery store, and you can drill immediately)
          5. Insert into drill holes the injection ports (tees) which are connected to plastic tubing. The tubing should have inlet and outlet valves. ( Lightly tap the tees in until they seat to form an air tight contact between active xylem or sap wood and the delivery point of the injection tees.)
          6. Mix the specified amount of  "Kestrel"  and the water thoroughly before beginning the injection treatment. (The preventive dosage rate is 10 milliliters diameter inch and the therapeutic dosage is 20 milliliters diameter inch.)  It is further recommend to use the higher dosage for the large trees of 20 inches diameter and larger. )  The amount of water to use is 1 liter per diameter inch of the trunk at breast height. e.g a tree with a 10" dia. equals 10 liters of water, 100 mils of  "Kestrel"  for preventive dosage or 200 mils of  "Kestrel"   for therapeutic dosage rate.
 
 
A WORD OF CAUTION HERE: We all have the tendency to think, that more is better, so lets just boost the dosage rates to say 30 mils per diameter inch. Really now, nothing could happen, if 20 mils is good then 30 mils has to be even better. WRONG..... Texas summers are usually hot and dry. Proipconazole, though it has a near pH balance. However, phytotoxicity plays a serious factor here. This combination of hot - dry and propiconazole can ZAP a tree, quicker than Oak Wilt. I mean that it will turn every leaf on your tree brown, .... DEAD......and literly over night. The therapeutic dosage rate of 20 mils per diameter inch will and can do the same to smaller diameter trees of 6 inches or less, and with smaller canopies. Propiconazole has to have a high volume of water as the carrier for proper distribution throughout the tree. So use the recommended higher dosage rate with caution. We strongly recommend that the trees  be treated in strict compliance as prescribed by the label.
 
 
The injection process Pump up the canister to 20 - 22 psi, connect to the harness to start the fluid around the tree, forcing the out as much of the air as possible and then clamp off the end of the line. The pressure should be maintained at 18 to 20 psi during injection process. You will not be able to remove all the air from the lines and that will not create a problem. Uptake can be completed within a few hours and take as long as 24 hrs. Once the process is completed, add extra water and re-pressurize the tank in order to flush the lines. When completed remove the harness and wash in a Clorox 10% solution and rinse in water before preceding with the next tree. Replace the dirt back around the tree base. Sterilize your tools with an antibacterial spray cleaner.
 
 
Retreatment
At the initial injection of Kestrel, take notes of the level of disease in each tree. Reevaluate disease level in trees at 12 months intervals after treatment for potential need for retreatment with  "KESTREL" . Preventive applications should be considered 12 - 36 months after the initial injection. Trees in high disease risk areas or high value trees should be evaluated for possible retreatment 12 months after treatment.
 
Follow application procedures described above for repeat injections; new drill holes will be needed for subsequent treatments.
 
These are the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations for the  "KESTREL"  injection as illustrated on the product label. The Texas  Forest Service demonstrate that the trees must be treated in strict compliance as prescribed by the label.
(See complete label)                                                                   
Kestrel Label (Adobe Acrobat®/PDF)
 
 
MY WORD:
These label instructions describe the perfect tree scenario with the perfect flare roots. Far too often the structural roots that extend beyond the root flare or tree stump are usually inferred as the root flares and this sends mixed and confusing information to the home - land owner. Often time they unnecessarily excavate far beyond the root flare zone, often causing extensive mechanical damage to the Structural root system or exposure to the air and sun light can damage the delicate tissue protecting these Structural and Transport roots.  (See  A Foot Note)
 
Remember, these label instructions are only guidelines and it is up to the applicator to follow them as closely as possible and to improvise with your best judgment to inject your trees effectively. You will run up against pitfalls from time to time and your experience will teach you to read your tree and avoid such dangers. This does not mean that the manufacturer is saying to inject only your perfect trees. Treat all your trees that are at high risk, to obtain the most  satisfactory results to save your trees.  I repeat;  Not every tree develops the perfect root flare for the injection process. There are many deformities, either caused by nature itself or damage created by human intervention.
 
Exposing the flare roots is not an easy task. The soils at the base of the tree are usually very dry and hard, rocks seem to be implanted in the tree's base or roots grow around the rocks. Many roots have been damaged by mowing and weeding equipment. Root rot often occurs on the buried flare roots in garden or landscape beds. There is always the danger of damaging the exposed bark with your digging equipment or tearing into smaller roots that are not suitable for injector tees. Often times,  I am called out to inspect the proud homeowners handy work. I am totally aghast to see the extent of damage cause to the base of the tree. Deep gouges in the bark, where the bark and cambium have been clawed away, exposing large areas of damaged sapwood, roots completely severed or a mangle of exposed roots . It looks as if they were attempting to dig a trench to set a sewer line without any thought or concern for the damage caused to the tree. Enraged, I bite my tongue, and explain the careful rules to excavate and to watch for the various unseen pitfalls they may run up against. Excavate the soils slowly, carefully as if you were doing and archeological dig, minimizing the damage and not like your are trying to hack the tree down with a hoe. The archeological dig concept reflects the quality of the excavation and is the critical process in proper preparation for injection. The time and quality of your work will minimize the damage as root injury is the beginning of the disease and decay process. Severe damage is two fold, the effect on the tree and leakage during the injection process. Oh ! The abuse that trees must endure through the efforts of love. Not to mention the trauma that, I have suffered for the sake of the tree.
 
The bark is usually just millimeters thick under the soil line on the flare roots or root collar zone. Wounds created in the flare root area, close more rapidly in comparison to wounds above the flare root area where the bark may be much thicker. This may appear to be true however, the healing process is the same whether it is above or below the flare roots. Where the bark is only a couple of millimeters thick, callus tissue will completely cover over the drill portal. Understand, when the bark is 5-6 mils thick or more, callus tissue will not fill the drill hole portion of the bark and will give the appearance that the wound has not completely healed properly. (The bark is dead tissue)
 
Flare Roots: The correct location of  the root flare is the portion to the tree where the trunk widens at the base as it transitions to the root system and otherwise known as the stump. Starting at the base trunk of the tree are the structural roots. They are large woody roots that extend from the base of the stump or root flare and continue on to the transport and feeder roots.  They provide the structural support for the tree. Structural roots also transport water and nutrients up the tree as well as carbohydrates down to the roots. Because of there size and importance to the tree damage to these roots should be avoided if possible. Trees with large root flares is the perfect tree scenario, however not every tree has the perfect flare roots. Mother nature does not always create perfection and man intervenes by damaging these root flares with equipment or burying them several inches below the proper grade level through construction or landscape practices (See Fig. 1 - 4)
 
 

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 Fig. 1-4 - These photos are examples of trees with excellent flare roots, Extra water is flushed through the lines to  ensure complete Kestrel uptake.  Following the injection process, the tees and harness are removed washed in a Clorox solution and  dirt is filled back around the tree to cover the wounds wherever possible.             Photos: Jim Rediker. 
 
The root flare occurs at the natural grade of the soil. It is of critical importance that this level be maintained. The addition of soil around the base of a tree is extremely damaging as trunk tissue deteriorates slowly when in constant contact with soil and soil moisture. The critical tissue damaged is the phloem which is responsible for the distribution of food energy manufactured in the leaves. As the phloem deteriorates, the tree looses its ability to utilize food energy for growth. The result is a tree with poor growth, die-back, and eventually, death. The problem is easy to diagnose. Examine the base of the tree. If there is no obvious widening as the trunk enters the ground, then the tree is not at its natural grade. You would developed untold foot problems, if you wore rubber boots all day.                                                                                                     
See Article: Tree Roots - Where They ?   http://www.800oakwilt.com/treeroots.html
 
Starting at the base of the tree trunk or the root flare, you will find the stump. Structural roots are large woody roots that extend from the base of the stump. They provide the structural support for the tree. Structural roots also transport water and nutrients up the tree as well as carbohydrates down to the roots. Because of there size and importance to the tree damage to these roots should be avoided if possible.
 
Remedial action involves careful excavation of the excess fill, removal of girdling roots, and in some cases, the construction of a tree well. Lack of root flares occur when the trees are planted too deeply, when landscape additions such as flower beds are added around existing trees, or during construction. In nature, dirt can be built up and be deposited several inches above the root flares by soil wash during rain storms and root mats will develop in the ensuing years. Realistically this can not be done for every tree you own, but if you have a few trees and if your can manage it, then do the work. ( See Fig. 5)
 
 


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Fig 5 - A tree well was built to protect the tree from excessive fill. The flare roots are still well below grade level and a dense root mat 6-8 inches above the root flares has developed. Injection would have to be done at the soil level, as exposing the root flare would cause sever damage , causing possible disease and decay to the tree                                    Photos: Jim Rediker
 
Root mats will also form at the base of the tree when excess amounts of dirt is filled 6 to 8 inches or more above the existing root flares. This will cause hormone levels to change and the tree will grow new roots from the flares and create dense root mats often pushing up the soil to create a substantial mound at the base of the tree. You may also observe numerous small oak trees sprouting up through the grass as an indication of these root mats. Should you try to excavate flare roots under dense root mats you WILL cause tremendous damage to the tree. It will be necessary to drill your injection portals at the tree collar or at soil level above such root mats. (See Fig: 6 - 10)
 

 
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Fig 6-10 - These are examples of trees, that lack root flares. The dense root mat  was severely damaged during excavation to expose the root flares. Notice the pieces of scattered root debris. For lack of flare roots, injection portals will have to be drilled into the root collar at soil level.                                                                          Photos: Jim Rediker 
 
 
 
Girdling a tree by injection maybe its possible, if you drilled the portals less that a 1/2 inch apart all the way around the tree. Yes drilling 40 to 50 portals 3 - 5 apart, around a tree is going to cause damage to your tree. Oak wilt will kill it a whole lot faster. The tree will developed callus tissue to cover these wounds within a short period of time after injection.
 
The manufacturer recommends retreatment from one to three years and new drill portals will be needed for subsequent retreatment. .... That means more drill holes!
 
I was raised on a farm in the north country, where Maple sugar was produced for five generations. Maple trees have been drilled year after year for more that 140 years and these trees in the two groves are still standing tall, majestic and very healthy. None have died and none have been girdled as a result by drill portals. This practice continues all over the North Eastern U.S. and Canada and will continue as long as there is a demand for maple syrup and maple products.
 
Protect and treat your trees with discretion, according to the disease pressure in your area. It is always best to preventatively treat your trees from Oak wilt, than to wait until disease is on your door step and YOU WILL lose some very valuable trees. No one is going to compensate you for your losses, cost of removal, replacement cost or the devaluation of your property. Your trees depend on you, be vigil and protect the value of your property.  Don't hesitate to call your local County Extension Agent, http://county-tx.tamu.edu/  or your local Arborist for an assessment regarding Oak Wilt in your neighborhood.
 
An injection procedure that, maybe considered a little unorthodox and certainly not part of the label instructions. However, a Texas A&M plant pathologist recommended this, as a little extreme and as a last ditch effort to save the tree, which ensures a greater "Kestrel" uptake. Some trees shut down the injection process prematurely, leaving a substantial amount of  "Kestrel"  mix in the canister. Though it creates more damage to the tree, a second line is added two inches above the initial harness and inter connected with the first harness. This provides very effective results. I do not recommend this procedure as a general practice or for every situation, but only if the tree is a very high dollar value and very critical to your landscape. 
 
Dr. Jarrel D. Johnson realized the importance and value of the trees to the home owner. Their desire and concern to save their trees, is their first priority, whether infected with oak wilt or the chance to protect them from the disease. An infected tree may seem hopeless, and to inject it, is absolutely futile. The absolute authorities have spoken against making such attempts as a total waste of time, effort and money. Dr Johnson summed it up this way;  "If you stand back and do nothing you have lost, but if you try and you win, you are 100% further ahead than when you started." That was over 14 years ago and I could not have said it better, sometimes you try and you lose, but it sure is rewarding when you know you have saved a tree. Win or lose, the home owner feels better just because he tried!  And better still when his tree lives on. 
 
As a Commercial Applicator injecting trees is a science by itself and it is not always easy to fulfill perfection but, perhaps we will never achieve this goal, until we find that one perfect tree. Every tree is different, and yes we do make mistakes and we have made a lot of them, which is part of the learning process. I can understand why the homeowner becomes frustrated, discouraged, and disenchanted with the whole process. The label instruction for Tree Preparation sounds so easy and simple. It is hard and frustrating work. I have tried the various methods of preparing the tree for injection, We have used high pressure water spray and an air spade, and every time dirt has to be brought in to fill around the tree, which adds to the labor and cost of the job. The good old digging with a hand tool method is by far best and safest of all the methods. All one can do is make up your mind and approach the job with the best of your ability.
 


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 Fig 11 : A large Burl growing at the base of the tree. The Injection would have to be done above the Burl. 
Fig 12-13: Large stones and debris have been piled at the base of the tree and a thick dense root mat has developed as the result of this debris. The flare roots are 10 -15 inches below  the natural soil line
 
The Beauty of a Tree
 
"We are left in awe by the nobility of a tree, its eternal patience, its suffering caused by man and sometimes nature, its witness to thousands of years of earth's history, its creations of fabulous beauty. It does nothing but good, with it's prodigious ability to serve to other living things. The tree and its pith live on. Its fruits feeds us, Its branches shade and protect us. And finally, when time and weather brings it down, its body offer timber for our houses and boards for our furniture. The tree lives on"  - George Nakashimo  (renowned woodworker )

 Doing the actual job may sound simple and easy. The videos and workshops demonstrations make it sound like a piece of cake, but it is hard work ! The homeowners -landowners are all super fired up with enthusiasm ready to go home and tackle a simple easy job. The Forestry Service insist that the only injection sites are on the flare roots whether the tree has them or not. In most cases their limit of expertise is from reading books, the label instructions and very little actual hands on physical experience. I mean the hard work of exposing the root flares or the best possible injection sites when there are no root flares. Prepare 50-75 trees to really get a taste of how hard the job really is, all the pit falls and difficulties of preparing a tree for injection. Then you would become somewhat of an understanding experienced expert instead of just telling people just how it should be done as described in the instruction manual.

The cost of equipment, to inject one tree will run about $100.00 - $150.00 for a pump up sprayer, injection tees and the pvc hose. The  Alamo is another $240.00 per quart and will treat only 95 diameter inches of tree. Two new products, Kestrel and Quali-Pro,  Propiconazole  MEC systemic fngicide are now available in in gallon jugs at a substancial savings.  You have to first cut the hose in 1 foot lengths and make an injection harness, which will consist of 30 - 40 tees or more connected together with the pvc hose and clamps. You need a hatchet to shave the thick bark where needed, your digging tools, a drill and 5/16 drill bit, a spray bottle of antibacterial solution to sterilize your drill bit, clamps, a brush and a bottle to collect the chemical while bleeding the air out of the lines. Digging out the tree is not an easy or simple task. If your lucky you can do one tree a day.
 
Think about it, if you had 30 beautiful live oaks that averaged 27 inches diameter. That's going to take you more than a month to treat your few trees. The disease could kill them in less time. First you remove 3 - 4 inches of soil to expose the root flares, and then brush away the excess dirt so you are ready to drill. You will have to drill approximately 60 - 65 portals 3 - 4 inches apart and install your harness all the way around the tree. Be careful where you drill and that the drill wood is all white and not discolored. (discolored wood indicates decay or dead wood.) Don't drill in the valleys between the flare roots, as the bark is too thick. Be sure you drill 1" to 1 1/4 inch deep into the white sap wood. Less than that, your tees will bottom out and the liquid will not flow or be absorbed into the tree. Mix up the  "Kestrel" systemic fngicide  and water then, pump up your tank to 20 psi, and start the fluid around the tree and bleed the air out of the line and then clamp it off . The injection process begins. Your canister is 2 1/2 gallons or 9 liters capacity. Your tree requires 27 liters of water so you have to monitor the process, maintain 20 psi and refill the canister three times and trying not to let air into your line. If your tree take the chemical up in 24 hours you can pull your lines, wash them in a 10% Clorox solution and rinse in clean water. Replace the dirt around the tree. You are now ready to start all over again and you have only 29 more trees to go.  Now that was easy, but first ask your back and knees to do it again and again and again, just 29 more times.!
 
People get discouraged, frustrated and just give up for lack in interest. I have gone onto ranches to discuss oak wilt, and I find evidence of an attempt to inject trees 5-7 years previous, the tank, lines and tees are still attached or partially attached to the tree. You see the evidence of the destruction of the disease all around and now a new out break is apparent. The second time around the home owner decides to turn the whole job over to a commercial applicator for whatever their reasons.
 
Photo Gallery
Preparing a Tree for injection:                                     Photos  Jim Rediker
 
 

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Photos 1-15: The dirt and debris are removed away from the root flares 2 - 4 inches below soil level, using a light  weight pick axe. With the air hose, the loose dirt is blown away to clean the area for the drill portals. The bark is usually not very thick at soil level and a hatchet is used to smooth out the bark for the drill ports. A few holes are drilled about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch deep into the sap layer. The tees are gently tapped in until they seat, to ensure an air tight seal in the sap wood. The lines are pig tailed in-order to avoid kinks in the line. The tees are places 3 - 4 inches apart in-order to proved the optimum distribution around the tree. (The vascular system runs vertically straight up the tree and not around and around the tree.) This process continues until the harness is completed all around the tree. The tanks are all ready pre-charged with the prescribed amount of  "Kestrel"  and water, and pressurized to 18 - 22 psi. The valve hookup from tank is connected to the first tee and the valve is opened to allow the  "Kestrel"  solution to flow all the way around the tree expelling the air. When all the air is expelled the line is then connected to the tee and the valve is turned on to commence the injection process. A healthy tree will usually absorb the solution in a few hours. When all the chemical is emptied out of the tank, a second canister of water is connected in-order to flush the lines  to insure the complete uptake of the "Kestrel"  solution. The tree will also drink up as much additional water as it requires to promote better distribution throughout the tree.
 
Co-authored, Jim Rediker and Chuck Hollis
 
                                 
 
 
A healthy well-developed root flare equals a healthy vigorously growing tree.The root flare is the portion of the tree where the trunk widens at the base as it transitions to the root system. Structural roots are the large woody roots that extend from the root flare or stump of the tree and provide structural support for the tree. They also bring water and nutrients from the Transport roots up to the Root flare. The roots that does most of the work is the Feeder roots. These are non-woody roots that absorb water and nutrients. Only the tips of the feeder roots can absorb water and nutrients. They are not a permanent root, but die and are replaced.
 
Check these pages for more information:   
Tree Fungicide Injection Technique:   http://www.oakwilt.com/fungicide_inject_technique.html
Oak Wilt - The Injection Process:       http://www.oakwilt.com/injectionprocess.html

Karen L. Rockoff
Master Certified Landscaper TX 4803
ISA Certified Arborist TX 3308A
Certified Oak Wilt Specialist TX 0291

Phone: 830-955-0304   Email: klrockoff@yahoo.com

Karen Rockoff is the primary contact 
Jim is in the hospital & will take calls through Karen.

Karen Rockoff is the only certified arborist

Contact:  Cell: 830.955.0304
                     Karen Rockoff  Arborist  - TDA Certified
e mail:
klrockoff@yahoo.com

SCENIC HILLS NURSERY 

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