Air Spade

By: Dave Scharfenberger, Certified Arborist

Spring 2003 Newsletter in Adobe PDF format This is a new term that everyone is still getting used to. It is the name of an exciting new tool we use to excavate around the base of trees. The tool uses compressed air to blow away the soil and leaves even fine roots unharmed. What used to be the most tedious job in the company is now one of the most interesting!

Its biggest use is root collar excavations. This is done for trees with the following symptoms:

  • decline
  • chlorosis (yellow leaves)
  • girdling roots
  • root rot/root collar decay fungi
  • boring insects
  • regular inspection of this “hot spot” area

Some of the causes of decline we are finding:

  • rope left on at planting time that is girdling trunks
  • burlap (especially nylon) that is girdling roots and trunks
  • weed barrier buried under layers of mulch, causing girdling
  • girdling and tangled roots
  • trees planted too deep
  • root rots

This tool opens up an entirely new world to us. An area that in many ways is more important than the crown of the tree and yet we could never get at it in the past. We can now take care of the items listed above and this can have a big positive impact on how other treatments work (such as: soil iron, fertilizer, etc.). It is also possible in some cases to treat root rots and root collar infections, whereas in the past we were limited.

A whole new area of treatment is just starting to open up for us that will significantly improve how we care for your trees.

© Copyright 2003 – Wachtel Tree Science & Service, Inc.

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