By Ezekiel Willard
ISA Board Certified Master Arborist PN05439BT
ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist #774
Unlike trees that grow in the wild, cultivated trees can have several defects which can cause serious problems as they mature in the landscape Luckily here at Idaho Tree Preservation, we understand those issues and, in many cases, can help correct them either at planting time or after the fact.
In modern tree cultivation the maintenance in the field, and during repotting, the tree’s trunk flare can be buried too deeply. This common problem can be made worse by improper planting methods. When the flare is buried too deeply (in some cases as much as 12 to 14 inches), this can cause decay in the trunk and cause rooting defects, like stem girdling roots, also known as SGR’s.
Stem girdling roots are roots that circle around the circumference of the tree. As the trunk grows in
diameter those roots can compress and strangle the tree. In the best case this cause the tree to die, in the worst cases it can cause the trunk to be pinched down, causing the tree to fail at the base.
Luckily at Idaho Tree Preservation we have been dealing with this issue for almost 15 years. By using pneumatic tools specially made for this work, we can clear away the soil from the tree, without damaging any under ground utilities or the tree. Once cleared away, the girdling roots can be cut away, relieving the compression on the trunk. As the tree builds new layers of conductive tissue (the rings in a tree) they can very often recover from this issue, and go on to live many years.
Another issue we can address using the pneumatic tool is to decompact the soil where the tree roots grow. In the urban setting our soil is often compacted during the construction process, and in Idaho we have soils high in clay, which compacts quite easily. We can perform this work even in turf grass areas, without damaging the grass. By firing off the compressed air down into the soil profile, the air fractures the soil creating spaces where air and water can get into. Those macro spaces are critical for air, and the micro spaces are critical for water. This work can be compared to the lawn aeration you may have had done for your grass, but for mature trees! Idaho Tree Preservation has many ways to improve the rooting environment for your trees, which I will cover in another post.
Since Idaho has less than ideal soil in both material up and pH, we can add compost to these holes created by the pneumatic tool. This is an ideal way to improve the soil environment around mature trees. Just like you need to add nutrients to your garden, our trees may need additional nutrients and compost is a great way to do this. The addition of compost creates slow-release fertilizer and helps improve the soil.
A healthy soil should contain millions of micro-organisms. Without these organisms our soil can become lifeless, these soils are not able to support healthy trees. By giving our trees the nutrients, they need, in a natural way, our trees are better able to defend themselves with less help from us, and less chemicals.
At Idaho Tree Preservation our goal is to help you keep your trees healthy and structurally sound. We have pursued these efforts for over 20 years here in the Treasure Valley, and we are constantly continuing to study and learn to give you the highest level of care for your trees.
If you want to have your trees inspected by one of our highly skilled, ISA Certified Arborists give us a call, or contact us via our website. We would love to help you, help your trees!