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Trees provide us with so many benefits, like shelter, shade, and protection from soil erosion. However, not all of us understand what we could be doing for them in return – namely, keeping them healthy.
Sometimes, our efforts can even do more harm than good. Are you harming your trees? If you’re doing any of the following things, that may be a possibility.
Using Too Much Mulch
Many tree and plant lovers understand the importance of delivering nutrients back to the earth. However, you could be killing your tree with kindness. When you use too much mulch around the trunk of your tree, you could be putting it at risk of a variety of health problems.
For example, the root flare located at the tree’s base, where the topmost roots come out of the trunk, is easy to cover by accident. In this event, the tree can suffocate.
To prevent that from happening, spread your mulch at least 10 centimetres away from tree trunks and 20cm from mature tree trunks.
Suffocation is not the only problem tree owners can face by using too much mulch. If you pile your grass clippings, soil, and mulch at your tree trunk’s base, it can cause decay. Excessive moisture in the mulch causes it to build up in the tree bark that works as a protective skin for your tree.
When this becomes too moisture-logged, it can welcome insects, bacteria, and fungi, leading to significant damage – and even tree death. Fortunately, there is plenty of helpful information online to help you use mulch appropriately.
Inserting Screws or Nails
As tempting as it can be to insert nails or screws into your tree to use hammocks or put up decorations, think about your tree’s health. Almost anything that breaks through the tree’s protective barrier – its bark – puts it at risk of insect infestation and disease.
Screws and nails can also damage a part of the tree known as the cambium. This is a growth layer where trees make new cells to thicken roots, branches, and the trunk. What’s more, trees can start growing around your screws, nails, and decorations, which can increase the risks associated with trimming overhanging branches or limbs.
Pruning at the Wrong Time of the Year
When you’re in the mood for trimming branches, you may not spare a thought for whether or not you’re going to be doing it at the right time of the year. It may come as a surprise to learn that there is a right and wrong time to prune your trees.
If you prune at the wrong time of the year, some weather conditions can cause your tree to be weak and vulnerable to disease. The best time to start pruning is in summer.
While autumn might seem like an obvious choice, this time of the year is when trees start building up their nutrients to make it through winter. If you start making cuts during this season, there’s no guarantee that it will heal in time before winter, which makes your tree even more susceptible to damage and disease.
However, if you have overhanging branches posing a health and safety risk, or the tree is diseased or damaged, emergency tree care may be your only option.
You may be armed with the best pruning tools money can buy, but do you know how to use them? To prune a tree for optimum health, you need the correct tools and the correct knowledge.
Otherwise, you may be putting yourself in danger while also putting your tree at risk of damage. If you’re not sure how to undertake tree pruning safely (for you and your tree), consult the experts.
Using Herbicides and Pesticides
Herbicides and pesticides are ideal products to use to keep away weeds and pests. Unfortunately, they can also harm your trees in the process.
Use mulch to prevent weed growth, and consider compost and fertiliser for the nutrients your plants and trees need. You can also contact your local arborist to learn more about general tree care.
Planting Trees Too Close Together
It’s not always easy to imagine how big your trees will grow when you plant them as saplings. An excellent planting rule to enforce is to plant your trees at least two metres apart. Any closer than that, and they will start competing for sunshine, food, and water.
As your trees become more established, you may start to realise that some don’t have the space they need to thrive. If you’re unsure about how you’ve planted your trees or are going to plant your trees, consult an expert Auckland arborist.
Avoid Harm, Hire the Experts
No one sets out to intentionally harm their trees, but it can happen. If you are unsure how to prune a tree, use mulch appropriately, or maintain it safely, consult expert arborists in Auckland who can lend a helping hand.