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Need Help with a Beech Tree

 
Posts: 98
Location: Limestone, TN
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I have about a 150 to 175 year old beech tree.  The last few years, the weather has been wetter.  It has suffered some substantial ant damage.  Last spring a friend dug it out some and exposed the roots.  It did really really well last summer and fall.  Now, as it is poorly again I am filling in around the roots.  I need to mulch it.  I want to know what type of wood mulch would be best and how far from the base as the roots are extensive on the surface.  Thanks!
 
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Last spring a friend dug it out some and exposed the roots.  It did really really well last summer and fall.



I wonder why did it do really well after your friend exposed the roots?  Did this friend explain why this was done?
 
pollinator
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Location: Denmark 57N
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I think we need pictures really. the big thick roots close to the trunk don't feed the tree and often come up to the surface in shallow soils.
It could also be that it is simply at the end of it's life, beech trees are not particularly long lived 150-200 is about  normal
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