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Help Your Trees Through Summer With These Three Simple Steps!

We’ve seen plenty of sun this

summer. It’s been a great hammock season for those of us fortunate enough to have two well spaced tree trunks. There’s nothing better than swinging in the shade with your beverage of choice.

While you’re relaxing, spare a thought for your hammock support structures. The trees.

End of summer is near. This time of year people tend to overlook the perceived nuisances of tree ownership. Leaf filled gutters aren’t a problem in late summer. As the hot dry days come and go the necessity of our trees is at its greatest level. We need the shade, and the trees provide it for us, but the trees are thirsty and stressed.

The trees need some help to get through. This hammock experience is too good, let’s make sure to preserve this year after year.

Three Simple Steps To Help Your Trees Get Through The Summer

I know you’re not all amateurs. You realize that your trees need water right?

Yes the solution is water, but there’s more to it than that. Remember, we do have those water restrictions in place. We’ve all got busy lives we need to get the best return for our investment of time and energy.

Step 1) Get off your hammock

The best thing you can do to help your tree is take some action by tending to the soil. Remember a tree is more than just a stem, branches and leaves. It’s also roots. We’ve all heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. The problem that tree roots face is that they don’t get the attention they deserve.

We all know that roots need water. In addition to this they also need air. During the course of summer, when the weather is dry soil tends to develop an impenetrable crust. It’s beneficial to loosen up the crust to create a surface that will be more accepting of water and air.

Use a garden fork or a hoe to tend the root zone soil. Break up the crusty upper layer. Remove weeds, and trim back overgrown shrubs. Improve the tilth so that water and air can penetrate, but don’t overdo it. Take care not to damage the roots, including the fine feeder roots.

Step 2) Add something that smells

I’m not talking about yesterday’s sweaty gym socks. Add a layer of composted organic material. The following are all good options:

  • Composted kitchen and garden materials.

  • Composted bark mulch.

  • Composted mushroom manure

  • Composted sheep droppings

  • Composted …..“you get the idea”

Add some decomposing organic material into the loose tilled root zone soil. A layer of 5cm to 8cm over the entire root zone area will be good. Rake the organic material into the top layer.

The composted material brings life back to the soil. Worms and insects will arrive to feed off the material. They’ll chew it up, and spit it out. In the process the nutrients in the material will become available for intake by the roots. The soil structure will improve as will its water holding capacity.

Step 3) Put a hat on it

Don’t take me literally. (Many people have made that mistake before.) You’ve pulled some weeds, tilled the soil and added some decomposing organic material. In doing so you have improved the root zone area a significant amount already.

Now we need to protect this area. The way to protect it is to add mulch.

There are a number of different types of mulch to consider. Some are better than others. A few to consider are:

  • Bark mulches (available in different species and colours)

  • Straw mulch

  • Grass clippings and leaf debris

  • Stones or pebbles

The type of mulch you use will depend on the context in which you are working. You may be after a certain look or your root zone area may need protection from things like stomping feet. The best mulches are those that will allow for water and air penetration, yet will also decompose over time.

So there you have it. Three simple actions that will help any tree recover from the hot and dry summer.

  1. Get off your hammock.

  2. Add something that smells.

  3. Put a hat on it.

So simple yet so worth it!

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