Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How NOT to plant a tree...

We got called to a customer's house with a common cry - "my beautiful tree all of a sudden started to die and was gone before I knew it!"  In this case, an 8 foot spruce tree that had been in the ground at least 4 years.

We hear this all too often, and I almost always find the problem immediately - incorrect planting!  Some landscapers slap a landscape in and sure, to you, it looks good and was maybe cheaper than someone else.  But what is lurking under the surface is death and disappointment.  The installer here did not plant this tree properly, did not even remove the nylon tie around the trunk, which doomed the tree at time of planting to die.  What's the most important and valuable part of your landscape?  Your trees!  Mature trees are not replaceable, so be sure they were planted correctly. 

If you're in a subdivision where the front landscape was provided, then it was likely installed in a cheap, production method, with many shortcuts.  It may not be too late to save your trees.  Go take a look at the base of your trees.  At the very least, cut this nylon tie that will absolutely strangle your tree, just a matter of time. 
Correct tree installation, to the professional standards of Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, includes cutting open much of the metal cage around the rootball to allow room for mature roots to pass through, pulling back the burlap and cutting it off or burying it completely under the soil so it does not "wick" moisture from the rootball to the surface, and removing the top part of the cage completely.  Then make a deep water well and water water water!  Don't go with the least expensive installer who may not know what they're doing.  This is a long-term investment and costs much more in the long run to replace a lovely tree after it dies.  Plus it is sad! 

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