Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by Sandie Lamb, Aug 9, 2018.
will this tree have a long healthy life or do I need to take it down ?
There's a lot of mechanical damage to that maple from lawn mower and/or weed whacker, so you'll really need to watch that. It's young, and can probably heal up from that damage, so you'll just have to give it time.. it's small enough that it should be easy to replace if it starts getting worse. I'd pull the soil away from the trunk down to the top of the root flare, so that lower damage can get more air and heal up. You'll want to pull a bit more soil out of there before you fill the ring in with your mulch, so you don't get it piled up against the trunk of the tree.
The canopy looks good, so I wouldn't give up on it. Just keep those lawn tools away from it!
Thank you Jeff. You are correct in that my 18 year old lawn guy hasn't been careful around my trees and bushes. I've decided to add these rings with Lava Rock (instead of mulch) so that he won't weed eat around them. Is there any type of filler material I should fill in the holes in the tree with? I remember my father-in-law patching some of his trees with a black tar like substance. Thoughts?
I also put down black landscape fabric around the trees but fear them not getting enough rain water. My husband says the rain will soak through the fabric. Thoughts?
I did have ants eating on my trees but finally sprayed a product to eliminate them.
The black tar-like substance used by many people for many years can do more harm than good. If the wound scars over, as appears to be happening already, it should heal. If you absolutely feel the need to put a protective cover over the wound, it is best to avoid black substances because they can become hot from sunlight and cook the underlying tissue.
As long as you are using real groundcloth / landscape fabric rather than plastic film, all the rain that falls on the area should go right through.
Thank you Cacao Boy. It appears the trunk of both trees are in worse shape than I knew. By hand I dug the soil back and see damage on three sides of both trees and lots of ants and another insect with wings. See attached. I’m not sure if I should keep trying to save these or start with new ones?
I would recommend you get rid of the lanscape fabric, yesterday it soon enough. We also suggest replacing the lava stone with organic mulch. In my opinion, lava stone or any other form of gravel is a giant PITA to maintain after the first couple of years. Fine soil, dust and organics get between the stones and the next thing you know, weeds are popping up. Extra maintenance.
Those scars are old, the tree has already put callous wood around the edges and will in a couple of years cover the wound.
Ants, don't eat trees. If they are large (1"), then they are carpenter ants and are making a nest in any decaying material, which might be a cavity in the tree or could also be an old log buried in the soil. If they are smaller ants, you need to see if there also aphids, as ants will 'farm' the aphids for their honeydew.
If you are going to do what these wise men suggest,(and I hope you do), then just have your husband applt a thick wheel bearing grease or any grease around the base.
Yeah, no tar. Organic mulch is best. Lava rock doesn't look the least bit "natural" unless you live on a volcanic island. It's like a plastic flamingo in Nebraska. Might as well be a plastic kangaroo.
Do I sense a new trend?
Another recommendation AGAINST landscape fabric. Rain does not go through well. More significantly, air flow is inhibited. Roots need oxygen that penetrates through the soil and they need to get rid of C02 up out of the soil. They don't control weeds for the long term as @BCWetCoast described. I'm convinced the only benefit the provide is to whoever is selling them (exception: the really heavy ones used on soft soil under rocks for a road help keep the rocks from being smashed into the mud...)
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