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I live in Sacramento, CA area. In April 2018, I purchased two dwarf citrus trees (navel orange, meyer lemon) for planting from our local nursery (5 gal containers). I decided to put the orange tree in the ground and the lemon tree in a planter box. The soil in the ground is 90% rock (the house is situated on a plot which was carved/flattened from the side of a small hill.

For planting the orange tree, I followed most of the basic instructions of planting a new tree. Dug a hole 2-3 times the width of rootball diameter and rootball depth, removed all the rock and replaced with garden soil/compost (50%/50%) mixture, exposed the root flare just slightly above ground level (I think), and kept the mulch a good 1 feet away from the trunk. I have been watering/fertilizing regularly, and the tree looks healthy. Plenty of young fruit which I picked off early to get the tree to concentrate on root/trunk development.

However, I have a concern about the root growth. I notice a root going around the small trunk and what looks like a potential root girdling? I'm attaching some pictures. Is there cause of concern or is this root growth normal? If problem, should I just cut the root that is going out and then back in? Will it kill the young tree? The tree is growing actively so I am not sure.

I'm also attaching pics for the lemon tree and that looks OK. The roots are fanning out in all directions which looks good. Thanks for any opinions.

Pictures are on on this Citrus Tree Pictures

  • "exposed the root flare just slightly above ground level" That seems strange. Normally you should plant to the depth the tree was already growing, not shallower exposing the roots. In some of your pictures the exposed roots seem to have been broken and then regrown. – alephzero Jul 22 at 21:58

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