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Point where top-most root meets trunk is at surface

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extra soil removed from root ball

The point where the top-most root emerges from the trunk (see arrow) is at the surface after removing excess soil from the top of the root ball. Although exposing the top-most root is not necessary, it is a convenient method of checking for root defects such as circling roots. Now the root ball is ready to receive soil and/or mulch to cover the sides of the root ball.