As I am the only member of the KIB Tree Team that is not an ISA certified arborist…I hesitate to dispense advice about trees. But my knowledge is quickly building as I have a golden opportunity to learn from some of the city’s smart tree people. I knew that I had officially become a member of the KIB Tree Team when I nearly missed a green light because I was looking so intently at the trees planted near the intersection!
One of the things I have begun to notice is how people “love” their trees. Time and time again I see mulch placed high and thick around the base of the tree, flowers planted at the tree’s base, trees that have been topped and the base of the tree decorated with pavers, bricks and stone.
Well, we do love people that love their trees but none of these treatments are ones that is recommended. Showing love for your tree is actually simple, low-cost and doesn’t require a much more than watering.
Some tree lovers fear weeds will compete with the growth of their tree and try to “help” by placing thick mulch around the tree. It may resemble a volcano with a tree in the middle. A lower, wider and proper mulch ring can aid you in watering the tree as the mulch helps to keep the water around the roots, and not running down into the street gutter. The mulch ring can be replaced annually.
Some other tree lovers want to show off their tree by adding flowers or ringing the base of the tree with bricks or pavers. While the bricks will protect the tree trunk from weed eaters or mowers, a proper mulch ring can serve the same purpose. Flowers can actually compete with a young tree for needed water, and is equally not recommended.
The practice of tree topping is a widely held misconception that it will help a tree grow, yet it is likely the most harmful. Topping a tree will not reduce the risk a tree poses to a property, it will actually increase that risk. Topping stresses trees, leads to decay, creates unsightly growth and invites pests and disease into the open wounds.
Follow our blog posts as we discuss more ways to properly love your trees, and visit www.kibi.org/neighborwoods_other_tree_resources from more info on proper tree care!