This lime tree was planted about 2-3 years ago, and isn't growing as fast as we thought it would. Maybe the tree just grows slow? I'm not sure. Recently I dug down to see where the root system started and to find the root flare.

And i'm still not exactly sure If I dug far enough down. But after watching a ton of videos about the root flare, I discovered we planted a few trees really deep, and I'm currently attempting to address the issue now, and not 5-10 years from now.

The biggest issue with the root flare being buried in dirt or mulch is that the roots may grow near the flare and strangle the tree in the future. Do you guys see the root flare in these pictures? Do you see any issues with the way the roots are?

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In this 3rd image, i believe this is the root flare, and I should cut all the roots above it. And was planning on putting in fresh soil just to the root flare, if that is what we are seeing here.

Also, do lime trees grow especially slow compared to say an avocado tree?

  • Were your trees bare root when you bought them, or contained in pots? Did you plant them so that the soil level was at the same point on the trunk/root junction as it was before they were supplied to you? Were they saplings when supplied and planted?
    – Bamboo
    Aug 24, 2019 at 11:32
  • contained in a pot with soil, we planted with the same soil and mixed with other soil (we always do it that way). I bought the tree but didn't plant the tree myself, so I don't know. The tree was probably half the size that it is now. Again, it was 2-3 years ago, so I don't remember. Aug 24, 2019 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


The rule, when planting out a tree (or any plant) growing in a container, is to ensure the soil level once it is planted is no higher than it was in the pot in terms of the main stem or trunk of the plant. At this stage, roots are not visible and should not be - with trees, roots may appear above ground after some years, and that particular root flare should not be covered with soil.

It's not clear why you think your trees may have been planted too deep, but after 2 or 3 years, it's already too late to reposition them without damage, and digging around to expose roots is also likely to cause damage. Just replace the soil you've excavated to the previous level, tamp it down and water well. The tree in your image appears healthy judging by the topgrowth, though a photo taken in daylight would have been more helpful to comment on that - rates of growth vary between trees depending on various factors such as light levels, water supply, heat/cold stress and so on.

  • I was under the assumption the roots ABOVE the flare should be cut. Since the dirt was 2-3 inches above the flare before I dug down, it seems that roots began to grow above the flare. This is what I was trying to point out. two hi-res images: imgur.com/a/wxu5XF5 Aug 25, 2019 at 0:39

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