Our landscape trees rarely die of old age. Usually, there is something we have done or failed to do that shortens the life span of our trees.
Sometimes it is easy to forget trees are living things that need certain conditions to thrive. The science of cultivating a healthy tree is often overlooked for the sake of convenience.
Hopefully, by following the tips below, we can do a better job of taking care of our tree canopy.
Give them enough water after planting. A tree in the nursery is watered several times a day with a dedicated source of water that goes right into the container. A newly planted tree needs water directly applied to the root ball to become established in the landscape.
The same irrigation you provide to your lawn through sprinklers is not enough. At a minimum, a newly planted tree needs 2 to 3 gallons applied for each inch of trunk diameter. For the typical 2-inch diameter tree, that is 4 to 6 gallons every day for a month, every other day for three months and then every week until it is established. The larger the tree, the longer the irrigation period.
Cut the roots circling the container when you plant your tree. One of the biggest drawbacks to growing trees in containers is when roots encounter the edges of the container, they are deflected to circle the root ball. Unless these roots are severed, they will continue to circle and fail to expand out to the surrounding soil.
Removing these circling roots at the point where they meet the container improves the chance your tree will establish in the space you have provided and develop a good root system.
Plant your tree at the same depth as it was in the container. Trees should be planted where the root flare is slightly higher than the surrounding soil. One of the worst mistakes is to plant your tree deeper than it was in the container. A wise forester I know came up with this saying: Plant it high, and it won’t die.
Don’t plant a large maturing tree in a small space. We frequently see large maturing trees such as live oaks planted in small front yards or the 4-foot area between the street and the sidewalk.
On average, large maturing trees need 900 square feet or more to acquire enough water and nutrients to anchor themselves properly. Medium trees need 400 square feet of growing space, and small trees need at least 100 square feet of rooting area. If you do not have the space, find a smaller maturing tree to meet your objectives.
By taking care of trees and cultivating them correctly, you can be confident they will live long and productive lives. t.
As we strive to create a more livable urban environment that includes trees, we need to consider roots and how our activities can affect how they function.
If we do a better job of creating and managing healthy tree root systems, we can have healthier trees that increase the quality of life in our communities.