Thursday, September 10, 2015
Keith Glaznap Certified arborist # WI-0678A
Trees have evolved to live in a variety of environments and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. One thing that they have not evolved to deal with is us. Trees have an extensive root system that generally extends out from the base of the tree at least 2 times its height. In addition to that, most of those roots are located in the top 18” of soil. This means that if you have a tree that is 50’ tall and you disturb the soil within 100’ feet of the tree you are likely affecting tree roots.
Most native trees in southeast Wisconsin have evolved in either a prairie soil or forest soil. Both of these soil types are much more fertile than our urban soils. These soil types are full of life. This “soil life” breaks down dead plants and animals making the nutrients available to the trees. Additionally these beneficial processes can affect the pH of the soil, which in turn can also help increase the tree’s ability to obtain nutrients from the soil.
The urban soils that we have left after construction are virtually devoid of life. The top layers of the soil have been stripped away along with most of the life that was in it. To make matters worse the soil that remains has likely been subjected to heavy equipment that has compacted it, making it very difficult for plant roots to grow. Additionally the turf growing underneath the trees now competes with them for water and nutrients. This is a sharp contrast from the largely beneficial plant life that was growing under the trees prior to construction.
These facts are part of the reason why many trees in an urban environment struggle. However, there is still hope for struggling trees. Wachtel Tree Science offers many soil treatments that can help improve the soil conditions for the trees, help stimulate root growth, provide therapy for damaged roots, and/or supplement a struggling tree with nutrients that it can no longer obtain adequately on its own.
One of the biggest myths about trees is that, “They are healthy if they are green”. The truth is trees can struggle for years before they start looking bad. Contacting a Certified Arborist to assess the health of your trees before they start looking bad is probably the most critical step you can take in preserving them. Waiting until your trees are already looking poor could end up costing you more money in the long run and may also make it more difficult to preserve those trees. So don’t wait another minute, contact us now to have one of our Certified Arborists evaluate your trees!