BY KIM HIGHES –
Trees that grow in our communities provide us with many benefits. The average city tree removes 13 to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year from the air. A tree’s value increases with each passing year. Trees increase home property values 7 to 21 percent, depending on the number and size of the trees. Patients with a view of trees and plants had shorter hospital stays and used fewer pain killers.
Trees face many life-threatening challenges, both from the environment and from people. These trees must be properly cared for to ensure that they will continue to provide benefits.
Homeowners and tree care professionals can follow several simple steps of proper tree care to help ensure long lives for trees in our communities. The following list describes ten common mistakes made during the pre-planting, planting and post-planting care phases of a tree’s life and the correct alternatives.
Your tree has much to offer – don’t kill it!
How to kill a tree:
- Plant a tree that will outgrow a small space. Disregard overhead or underground obstructions.
- Plant the tree in a small hole and leave the burlap (or container) completely around the root ball.
- Place a large mound of mulch against the tree trunk, or use no mulch at all.
- Leave staking and guying materials attached to the trunk until the tree becomes girdled.
- Use the tree as a bumper when lawn mowing or string trimming. Scrape off the bark and injure the live tissues underneath.
- Top or severely prune a tree’s branches. Remove most of the outer twigs and leaves. Ignore making proper pruning cuts.
- Sever many large roots close to the tree trunk.
- Change the soil environment by raising or lowering the grade or by compacting the soil.
- Over or under water the tree. Saturate the soil, or let it dry out completely.
- Burn the roots by applying fast-release fertilizer during or right after planting.
For more information on how to avoid killing trees, refer to the Extension Service publication #FSA5011, “Ten Easy Ways to Kill a Tree” on the uaex.edu website under publications. Or, come by the Extension Office at 211 DeQueen Street in Mena for a copy.