I am going to show you how to kill your favorite tree in 10 easy steps. These steps are arranged from cradle to grave. You do NOT want to follow these instructions if you want a tree to survive. I hope it will be made obvious that there are many things you will do even though you expect your tree to survive and thrive.
Time Required: In many cases, 10 minutes or less.
- Leave your new and to be planted baby tree out in the drying sun and wind. Speed up the process by exposing the roots. Scorch and scald
- Plant your baby tree but do not add water. Speed up the process by adding fertilizer. Skip the water
- Fertilize your tree often by doubling the recommended rate (especially during dry conditions). Let 'em eat
- Bang your tree with a lawnmower or rip trunk apart with a weed trimmer. Visible bark damage is the key. Bump and bang
- Use your car to tap, firmly, the tree bark (and remember that tree roots just hate cars parking on top of them). Park and tap
- Prune your tree way back, leaving less than 2/3 of the live crown. Prune with zest
- Pave the ground above the tree roots. Pack and pave
- Use and store chemicals and other toxic materials over the root zone. Nuke the root zone
- Invite construction crews in to work around the tree and, by all means, let them trench. Dig a trench
- Use your tree as a utility pole for fences, mailboxes, deer stands, electric lights, etc. Create a living utility pole
- To insure all of the steps above eventually work, plant for your tree under or near a powerline.
- Stake the young tree tightly and leave wire until the tree trunk or limbs grow over it.
- Never, please, never mulch around your tree.