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California Pepper Tree

Q.My Tree Is In Shock From A Root Trimming??

Zone Irvine, CA | Anonymous added on April 11, 2021 | Answered

Hi, I have a CA Pepper that I grew from five feet – it’s my baby. It’s about 6 years old. A few months ago, a landscaper convinced me that it would be safe to trim a root that was pushing hard against my planter. He trims my trees with great love and care – I trust his expertise. He cut out a root the size of a wrist. My tree has definitely suffered from this. The leaves are normally dense and right now, not at all. The good news is that it is trying to regrow – there’s new growth on all the ends but the middle is really sparse. It’s as if the whole tree shriveled in size, though there’s nothing dead. This time of year, I feel it should be really lush. Is there anything you can recommend, like a fertilizer? I did read extensively that Peppers can handle root trimming. Mine did not like it at all. This is causing me more sadness and worry than you could imagine. Normally, I can’t see the houses through my tree, but right now, I can just like right through it. Any help you could give is much appreciated. The last photo is for reference so you can see how it usually looks.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 12, 2021

We don't usually recommend cutting out tree roots, however suckers at the base should be removed. I hope your tree rebounds. You may continue to have problems as the Pepper tree is known for aggressive roots. They need a lot of room to roam and I don't see it there. It is surrounded by a fence as well as hardscaping. You may want to consider moving your tree or replacing it with a smaller tree. None of the resources I checked mention fertilizing the tree. I would make sure it has sufficient water, though, to ease the healing.

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