How Soil Affects the Health of Trees

by / Friday, 12 March 2021 / Published in Blog

Gardeners realize that any tree needs water, air and sun. An experienced gardener recognizes, as well, the value of placing any plant in suitable soil.

Soil types

• Sandy-Has large particles; does not ensure good retention of nutrients.
• Silt-Has fine particles; features the ability to retain moisture and nutrients. Still, a tree’s ability to thrive not always guaranteed in silt-like ground.
• Clay-Particles packed tightly together; provides a plant’s roots with limited air space; consequently, only small amount of water gets to roots.

What soil issues introduce the largest amount of harm to trees?

• Soil compaction causes poor root growth
• Poor drainage fails to encourage proper root growth

How to detect a soil issue before it causes dieback of a planted tree?

You need to study the soil’s texture and color. Additionally, it helps to look for growth of moss; that is a sign that stagnant water exists in the area

How to limit the development of problems that are linked to compaction and poor drainage?

Trees must be planted in a well-prepared spot. That means digging a hole that is at least 3 times the size of the tree’s root system. In that way each root has room in which to grow. Make an effort to keep tree’s trunk in upright position. That means avoiding any situation where air pockets have been allowed to form in the soil. The presence of such pockets could cause a young trunk to lean to one side.

Add compost to the ground in which a tree will be planted. Be sure to wait until the same area of ground has become dry. Adding compost to a moist region of earth works to increase the level of compaction in that same region. Once a tree’s roots have been placed in the ground, cover the soil’s surface with wood or bark chips. Plan to create a covering that is 2 to 4 inches thick. After the roots have become more established, the covering of wood or bark chips can be thinner.

Tree Service in Palo Alto recommends that you limit the amount of foot traffic in the area of the new planting. For very small trees, consider placing a barrier around that tiny, yet growing member of the plant kingdom. That is the best way to reduce the number of times when some person’s foot treads on the earth that holds one or more trees’ roots.

Once a root system has become larger and better established, then it can stand up to the pressure exerted by a human’s footstep. Still, a root’s strength develops slowly, over an extended period of time. That means that no planter of trees should ever assume that a new root’s strength equals that of one that has managed to push up some heavy section of sidewalk.

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