“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Care for your trees and they will care for you. Even when neglected trees appear hardy and impervious to much of what they must endure. We rely on them for shade, cooling and privacy. They provide a welcome respite from concrete, congestion and noise. Their variety gives us pleasure.
Trees don’t thrive if we fail to care for them. Caring requires proper attention to the tree trunk.
Check the base of your trees for root flares. This is where the trunk widens as it grows roots. Vascular rot can result when the area is not visible because of too much soil or mulch against the trunk. The area needs to breathe. It is unable to handle excessive soil and moisture. Excess roots can grow and “strangle” the tree causing its decline and possibly death.
Lawn mowing equipment can create open wounds on trees allowing insects and fungal pathogens to cause damage. Protect them by removing sod from around the tree and replacing with 5-10 cm of wood chip mulch. Keep mulch at least 10 cm away from the trunk of the tree. This replicates a proper soil and decomposition environment for the tree so the wider the better.
Rodents, fungus and insects can damage tree trunks. When damage is noted professional care is required.
When first planted trees may have stakes or wire around them as a form of protection. Remove them to avoid tree damage.
While trees can protect themselves against winter, salt and deicing material can be damaging. During snow plowing these materials can be spread over tree roots or their coverage area. Agricultural gypsum and heavy watering in spring can leach these materials below root systems.
Trees that fail to thrive require the expertise of a certified botanist who can diagnose and hopefully alleviate what ails your trees.
Proper Mulching Protects Trees
- Maximizes tree growth and minimizes weed growth
- Insulates soil thus protects roots from excessive cold and heat
- Conserves soil moisture
- Improves drainage and aeration
- Inhibits some plant diseases
- Improves landscaping and simplifies maintenance