Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Tree Care: Making Gardening and Lawn Care Safe for Trees

Summer is a time when lawn or garden maintenance can present dangers to your trees, often lurking in your own hands. While all trees are susceptible to trunk damage from lawnmowers, weed whackers or other garden-care tools, immature or newly planted trees are especially vulnerable. An injury to its trunk can prevent vital nutrients and water from reaching the tree, ultimately causing it to die. Luckily, this can be easily avoided by taking a few precautionary measures.

A weed-whacker claims another victim.

Placing a tree trunk protector around the base of your young trees is one of the cheapest and most simple safety measures. These plastic protectors shield your trees from bladed tools and expand as they mature with time and care.

Trees with trunk protectors and proper mulching planted at a Community Tree Planting event.

Spreading mulch at the base of your tree is another great way to avoid damage from a lawnmower or weed-whacker. Whenever mulching, we suggest following the “3-3-3 Rule” – spread three inches of mulch in a three-foot circle with a three-inch space around the trunk. Not only will the mulch protect your tree from getting weed-whacked, it also helps keep the soil moist and control weed growth at your tree’s trunk. Make sure to avoid volcano mulching at all cost. This improper mulching method will retain too much moisture around a tree’s base, causing bark decay or root girdling.

A well planned mulch island can greatly increase protection to your trees. Photo credit: colleen

A third option in tree safety is sculpting a mulch island – sectioning off a portion of your property for trees and other plants to be filled with mulch, without surrounding grass. While this safety precaution might be the most costly, it’s also an inviting, low maintenance alternative if you want less lawn to maintain and more protection for your trees.

For more tree care tips, check out the resources available on our website.


Valerie Phillips said...

I have to agree with you that immature or newly planted trees are especially vulnerable. It's always better to understand the needs of your trees.

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