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HOW TO GET TO THE ROOT OF TREE CARE PROBLEMS
Arborists are often called to inspect sick trees when the homeowner notices problems with the leaves on the tree. Homeowners usually suspect a disease or insect pest is the cause of damage to the tree leaves. In many cases, however, the problem turns out to be a disturbed or damaged root system. Arborists are able to identify and help many root problems associated with declining trees.
A commonly recommended treatment to help declining trees is deep-root fertilization. The deep-root fertilization treatment is applied using a probe that allows the arborist to apply the nutrients near the tree roots and below most of the grass roots. Although some greening of the grass may occur where the probe is put into the ground most of the fertilizer is going to be absorbed by the tree roots.
Many arborists add supplements to their deep-root fertilization treatments depending on the cause of the tree decline. Mycorrhizae fungi, for instance, is a beneficial fungus that attaches or surrounds the root system of the tree to increase the effective area of the trees root system. Kelp or seaweed extracts can also enhance a deep-root fertilization program by providing iron and other micronutrients. Rhizobacteria additives include several strains of beneficial soil bacteria that can augment a deep-root fertilization treatment.
Improving the root zone of a declining tree may involve mechanical treatments in addition to deep-root fertilization. Arborists can relieve soil compaction using soil augers, an air spade, or an air knife. Reducing soil compaction around the root zone of a declining tree improves the movement of air and water and makes it easier for absorbing roots to grow throughout the soil profile.
An air spade or air knife can also be used by an arborist to perform root collar inspections on both healthy and declining trees. During a root collar inspection an arborist may find that excess soil has been pushed up against the tree trunk. Pulling the excess soil away reduces the possibility of decay or root rot developing on the tree trunk. Girdling roots can also be found and removed when doing a root collar inspection. Girdling roots are tree roots that grow around or against a tree trunk instead of growing away from the tree trunk.
Protecting and helping tree roots can not only keep trees healthy, but will likely result in improved leaf color and enhanced blooming on flowering trees.
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