The large and majestic trees along our streets, on your property and in parks make up the urban forest. While we are aware of their beauty and benefits, we might not realize that many of our larger trees are suffering from environmental stress and neglect.
Unless we protect them, a majority of our heritage trees will disappear within twenty to thirty years. Air pollution, soil compaction and contamination, construction injury, exotic invasive insect pests and limited water, oxygen and nutrient availability has taken a toll. Mother Nature also causes stress with sudden ice storms, high winds, extreme low temperatures, a devastating spring snowstorm or summer drought. Many new large growing trees are planted in confined spaces with soil devoid of essential micronutrients. And the life expectancy of newly planted street trees is only 25 years; it is unlikely they will ever reach the grandeur of the majestic trees today.
Trees are slow to respond to wounding and stress. It’s not unusual for a tree to die years after an adverse situation and unfortunately, an arborist is typically called when it is usually too late to save it. Root and branch dieback, decay and foliage scorching are all symptoms of stress and put the tree into a weakened condition. Weakened trees are more susceptible to insect problems and disease.
There are several proactive and organic approaches to prolong the life of a tree and maintain its good health and vigor.
- Fix the soil with organic supplements. Raking our leaves removes vital organic matter; toxic chemicals and high nitrogen based fertilizers deplete the soil of important nutrients. We need to replenish the soil with amendments or compost. Healthy, nutrient rich soil determines how well your trees grow.
- A tree needs to be periodically inspected for structural defects, insect pests and disease.
- Trees should be pruned properly and focus on removing dead, dying, diseased and broken branches.
- Proper irrigation and mulching, especially in times of drought, are essential to maintain a tree’s good health.
Trees are not living statues – they need care and protection just like any other living thing. Trees play a critical role in the health of the planet. Please help preserve them.
Information compiled from Bostontreepreservation.com