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Remove substrate to check for root defects

To check for circling roots, displace or remove soil or media that is above the top-most root (as shown below) before planting. In the example below, this exposed the swollen root flare. A root flare may not always be present. The dark-colored media piled next to the root ball (at right) in the photograph below was part of a 4 inch thick layer of media on top of the root ball in the nursery. If this tree was planted with this media still in place on top of the root ball, the tree may have been planted too deep because the top-most root would have been placed too low in the soil.

closeup or illustration.

soil removed to check roots