Even mature trees need tending

by | May 11, 2016 | Blog, Green / Sustainability Ideas, Home & Lifestyle

Mayfair-25It takes a long time for trees to grow into beautiful, mature specimens. But contrary to common belief, they don’t always thrive without help. If they aren’t well cared for, they can quickly become vulnerable to Colorado’s violent weather swings.

To protect your trees, here are a few simple steps recommended by Houzz:

Protect the roots: It’s important to protect the soil and roots that are within the “critical root zone” (CRZ) of the tree. To determine the CRZ, Houzz suggests that you imagine drawing a circle on the ground below where the tree’s branches extend. While the roots actually grow beyond this area, the CRZ is most sensitive to disturbance. “This means that you shouldn’t compact soil or change the grade of the soil within the CRZ of your tree. Doing so can significantly damage the roots and soil structure, which will degrade your tree’s health over time,” notes Houzz.

Protect the bark: When bark is damaged, it becomes vulnerable to fungal or bacterial infections. Be careful that water from the sprinkler heads isn’t hitting the tree’s trunk with force and at close range. Similarly, steer clear of the trunk to avoid incurring damage when operating lawn mowers, weed whackers and other equipment.

Water: While mature trees generally thrive in existing conditions, an extended drought can put them in danger. During summer or when drought conditions prevail, give trees infrequent but deep waterings. This will help the tree withstand the dry conditions.

Prune: Careful pruning can help your tree avoid bark wounds and keep moisture and organisms from destroying the tree from the inside out. When branches are crossing or rubbing against one another, remove the branch that’s smallest in diameter. This help the stronger branch grow and removes the danger of the branches rubbing off the bark. Also, remove dead and broken branches by making a clean cut at the breakage point. This helps ensure that moisture and organisms don’t invade the tree. You might also consider removing low branches, which can improve the tree’s look and allow more light to shine into the area beneath the tree.

Maintain the soil around the tree: In order to encourage a rich mix of organic matter around the tree’s roots, mulch around the tree with purchased mulch or leaves from the yard. Aim for a 2- to 4- inch layer and keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree. You can also plant ground covers in the tree’s shade. Their shallow roots help maintain the soil, acting as a “living mulch,” according to Houzz.

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