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10 Bad Things We Do to Our Trees


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Loving a Tree to Death
Over Staking and Mulching

Over Staking and Mulching

Photo by Steve Nix

Here are ten common ways you can harm trees that grow in yards and urban wood lots. More often than not, a tree owner does not realize the tree is in significant trouble until it is too late and the tree either dies or is harmed to the point where it needs to be cut. All of these harmful tree practices can be avoided.

I have talked to thousands of worried tree owners in my 30-year forestry career and they all might have benefited from reading this pictorial on human-caused tree problems. Read this and reassess your yard trees...

Do Not Love a Tree to Death

Staking and mulching newly planted trees seems to come naturally to even the beginning urban tree planter. Hey, both practices can be beneficial when done properly - but they also can be destructive when overdone or not done properly.

Staking and guying can make a tree grow taller, will anchor a tree in heavy winds and can protect trees from mechanical damage. Still, you must remember that some tree species need no staking at all and most trees need only minimal support for a short time. Staking can cause abnormal trunk growth, bark damage, girdling and cause a tree to become top heavy.

Mulching is a great practice but can also be done improperly. Never apply too much mulch around a tree. Mulch around the base of a tree that is over 3" deep can be too much to the point of effecting root and bark function. Avoid mulching right next to the base of the tree trunk.

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