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Give your trees a health check

Over the last few years with the changing weather conditions higher temperatures in the summer and floods in the spring. Trees are well and truly under attack.

One of the first signs that a tree is under stress can be seen in the spring in many species. As the tree comes into leaf the top growth remains bare and does not produce any spring growth. This condition is called "stag heading", trees tend to leaf from the top down so this symptom is easy to spot as long as you are able to estimate when the tree will come into leaf and visit every morning.

During the early summer it is possible to look at the leaf coverage within the trees canopy. Every tree arranges its leaves to catch as much sunlight as possible. By taking photos every year it is possible to check if the canopy in the tree has reduced its coverage from the previous years. A reducing can be an early sign of deteriorating health.

Problems and Solutions

Trees have two main problems soil compaction and acid rain. The second is hard for the individual to solve in relation to single trees. However soil compaction is a solvable problem for each tree.

Soil compacting - this can be caused by building too near a tree, or by flooding or working the soil whilst it is wet. The problem is that it stops water penetration and also prevents the tree from taking up the available water. Several solutions can be employed which include -

  1. Using a fork on a small scale in the rooting zone to reduce compaction by pushing the fork into the ground and pulling back to break the soil to loosen the structure. It is important to do this carefully as not to damage the roots. On a larger scale it is possible to use mycorrhizal fungi which will combine with the roots to help the up take of nutrients and moisture
  2. Preventing compaction from returning can be achieved by the use of mulches around the tree, which will prevent the effects of heavy rain, which destructure the soil.

If you need any help with maintaining the health of your tree the GardenAdvice team have a specialist tree advisor available through our free advice service.







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