Trees and shrubs in a landscape are often exposed to many stresses including temperature extremes, poor soil conditions, improper planting and more. One common threat that can, and should, be avoided is injury from machinery and equipment such as mowers, tractors and trimmers.
It’s easy to bang into a tree’s bark or drive over an exposed root, but this activity can cause serious damage. The bark protects the systems in the tree that transport water and nutrients. When the tree has difficulty moving water and nutrients, foliage, twigs and branches will begin to die. Even when a tree tries to recover from a wound, leaves and branches often decline and die back because food and water pathways have been destroyed. This type of injury can be problematic for any plant, but young and newly planted trees still becoming established in the landscape are particularly vulnerable.
When possible, remove turf or prevent grass and weeds from growing at and around the base of the tree. It’s also helpful to add a layer of mulch beneath the entire canopy. This is good for the health of the tree, protects the root zone and also serves as a visual reminder to keep equipment well away from the bark and roots.
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