Are you concerned about damage occurring to your street-side planted tree? If so, then you need to be proactive in protecting it. You can do this by understanding the most common types of damage as well as the methods for preventing problems. The following guide can help.
Most damage to street trees happens to the trunks. in a residential neighborhood, this can occur from lawnmowers or weed trimmers knocking off bark, car doors banking into the tree, or people climbing the tree. In some residential areas, wild animals, such as deer, can also pose a threat as they may rip off the bark to feed on the cambium layer beneath. In more urban settings, another concern is from leaflets and other items being nailed or tied around the tree. Further, there is always the risk of soil contamination, from everything from too much dog urine to hard metals from street pollution.
One of the best things you can do to protect street trees from most of the concerns listed above is to invest in a tree guard or tree cage. These devices wrap around the trunk to protect it from mechanical damages, as well as from people and animals. Flexible guards wrap snugly around the trunk and can be left on for one to two growing seasons before you need to remove them and replace them with a larger size. More permanent tree cages are designed to be larger than the expected mature girth of the tree, and can be left on for the life of the tree. You do not want to use anything permanent that could restrict the growth of the tree, as this could lead to girdling and tree death.
Exhaust and pollution are more likely to collect in the soil near the street. Performing an annual soil test can help you catch problems early, so you can make fertilizer amendments to help counteract any soil issues. It's also a good idea to add a fresh layer of mulch over the top of the soil every spring. Aim for a 2 to 3 inch layer of bark or wood chips, just leave a small space between the mulch layer and the trunk. The mulch will protect the soil and the roots, while also providing additional nutrition as it decomposes.
Working with a tree service to keep your street tree healthy is a must. Not only can they help you install tree guards and amend the soil, they can also keep the canopy pruned and catch any issues with the tree's health early. Contact a tree service in your area for more help.