Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 11/27/2018 to Climbing News
Most trees in the urban landscape are missing out on all the
good stuff that the trees in the forest take for granted. Trees in the forest,
for the most part, are protected by their friends when wind storms come
through, have great soil that provides them with all kinds of available
nutrients as well being left alone and undisturbed for years upon years.
Unfortunately, that tree that you just love in your front yard that’s surrounded
by your driveway with its roots covered in thick water-sucking sod isn’t as happy. Let’s talk
about a couple ways to help make that soil a bit healthier for your tree!
What a Tree Needs
16 essential elements
Did you know that in order for your tree to grow, it needs 16 essential
elements for growth? They are divided into macronutrients (hydrogen, carbon,
oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur)
and micronutrients (molybdenum, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, boron, and chlorine).
Many of these are available in forest soil because of organic matter, such as leaves, bark and wood, that are decaying and breaking down around the trees roots. Other nutrients, like oxygen are readily available in the atmosphere for the tree to use. A common misconception is that just the tree parts above ground need oxygen, and while they do, it should also be known that tree roots also need their share of oxygen as well. Trees that are located in high traffic areas such as city parks or trees that are covered by road ways usually suffer from oxygen deficiency which will slowly weaken the tree and open it up to invasion of pests or disease.
Room to breathe
A great way to relieve soil compaction issues is with use of an Air Spade,
which is an air powered wand that fractures the soil and breaks up all the
compacted areas. Once the soil has been fractured, it is best to attempt to
create a soil profile that will benefit the tree. By blending composted manure,
some mulch and Bio
into the soil, this helps create a profile that will support
micro-organisms that help break down organic material and provide the tree with
an ongoing source of nutrients. Bio
is really cool because it actually creates pore space in the
soil, which makes areas for those soil decompacting workhorses to live!
Another way to provide trees with some of the main essential
nutrients, which are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K), is with
the help of balanced fertilizers and a deep root feeding system. It is a best
practice to be sure to do a soil test before creating any sort of fertilizer
program for a tree. Once your soil test is complete and you have the results,
you can easily see what nutrients are lacking in the soil around the tree as
well as what the soil pH
is. Soil pH is
important because some elements, such as phosphorus and most micronutrients,
are significantly influenced by soil pH.
Once you have an idea of what the tree and soil
are lacking, a great tool for applying the needed fertilizer is the Nu Arbor 1
Two Soil Injector. This back pack injector is super convenient for those large
properties with many trees that need a bit of nutrient help. The injector has a
valve on top that is compressed to inject the soil with fertilizer. Ever compression
of the valve injects the soil with 1/4 ounce of fertilizer. Using this injector
with the Nu Arbor fertilizers is an even easier process! The fertilizer is
doesn’t need to be diluted so you can just pour it into the tank and begin
injecting your trees. For every inch of circumference at breast height, the
soil should be injected with 1 ounce of fertilizer by compressing the valve on
top of the injector 4 times. The process really couldn’t be any easier, and it
allows those great nutrients to get down below the sod and grass into the root
area where they can be absorbed into the roots and throughout the tree!
This is just a short start to the many things that can be a major plight to
trees in the urban landscape. Hopefully you picked up a bit of info that can
help you when looking at trees in your client’s yard. Next month we should be
able to continue our discussion on common tree problems as well as how to solve
them to make the trees as healthy as possible and make your client’s landscape as
beautiful as possible, which will help you get a better reputation in your area
as well as more money in your pocket for the great work that you are doing!