This is the time of year when shade trees benefit homeowners the most. Shade trees provide shelter from the sun and can help combat the energy costs of cooling our homes in the summer.
Despite the fact that in summer, attention is mainly paid to the upper canopy, the root system and trunk of the tree should not be neglected. Signs of stress can be seen in the canopy if sufficient moisture is not received, as “leaf burn” develops. Leaf scorch can be an indicator of a tree’s water supply, but damage to the root system or trunk can quickly reduce the amount of moisture transported through the vascular system beneath the bark.
You can avoid damage to trees by carefully planning their placement so as not to injure the root system by future digging nearby. Common sources of injury can be trimmers or mowing. Be aware that some trees (especially maples) have shallow roots and may be susceptible to injury from mower blades. Mulch around the tree can help prevent damage and conserve moisture during those hot summer months. It also provides some distance from the trunk for mowers and trimmers to avoid damaging the tree. Mulch should not be applied directly to the tree trunk and only to a depth of 2 to 4 inches.
Sometimes mulch is not enough to retain moisture because there is not enough rainfall. Even large trees can benefit from irrigation, as a mature tree loses more water than a younger one. If insufficient moisture is transported from the roots to the canopy, the leaves turn brown, branches and branches may die. Watering can be done with a sprinkler or a slow-drip hose can be used to deliver a set amount of water to the tree’s root zone if no rain is forecast for several days.
Broadleaf trees are first thought of when it comes to shade, but evergreens are capable of providing shade in the summer and are most susceptible to drought-related problems. Water evergreens first if water is scarce.
Remember to water in the fall when conditions are dry. Measuring the amount of water applied using shallow pots can be compared to the amount absorbed into the soil. Use a sharp shovel or spade to bury the soil 6 to 9 inches deep to ensure adequate watering.
Enjoy shade and keep your trees healthy throughout the season by spotting signs of stress that can encourage insects and disease.
Andrew Holsinger is a professor of horticulture at the University of Illinois.
Preserve the shade with tree care – AgriNews
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