Roots are an essential part of every tree. This is because they are what hold the tree together. They have crucial functions, making it necessary for them to be strong. What is it that makes the roots special? The roots are how the tree absorbs water, minerals, and nutrients it needs to thrive. They also secure the tree to the ground and even store food for dormant months.
Just like the foundation of a house is very important in maintaining the integrity of the house, the same applies to a tree. The roots are crucial. Without the roots, the tree cannot survive. Keeping the roots stronger is the key to keeping the tree stronger. Having the right strategy for tree care will help you keep the roots stronger. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Help the Tree Get Established
The establishment process for a tree is a very crucial stage. A tree is established if a robust root system has developed beneath the soil. When the root system is limited, it cannot absorb water and nutrients efficiently. This means that your tree requires extra care during the establishment stage. Most importantly, it’s going to need extra watering. For the first couple of weeks, water your newly planted tree daily. After that, every two to three days should be enough. This will help the roots grow stronger and the tree to become firmly established.
Most types of trees become established after about two years of growth.
2. Choose a Spot That Is Well-Drained
While some trees are well-adapted to wet soils, others cannot tolerate soils that stay wet for long periods. Tree roots actually need oxygen to be healthy and maintain their function. Normally, the required oxygen can easily be obtained from spaces in the soil. However, too much water in the soil means there’s no place for oxygen. Think about how earthworms are forced to come out of the ground to breathe when there’s been heavy rain. Trees need oxygen to live too.
Planting your trees in well-drained soil will ensure that there is always plenty of oxygen.
3. Prepare the Soil Before You Plant
Some bed preparation is necessary whenever you plant a tree. The main aim is to improve the soil in order to encourage a tree’s growth. Till the soil down about eight inches. Breaking up compacted soil makes it easier for the roots to penetrate the soil and grow. This also speeds up the establishment process and incorporates enough oxygen into the soil.
It’s also important to dig holes that are deep and wide enough when planting trees. This avoids causing any damage to the roots and gives them room to spread out as they grow.
You can also add fertilizer or other organic matter to the soil if you’re planting in an area that lacks the appropriate nutrients for your tree. For example, this might be necessary if you’re planting where you recently removed a tree or had an old stump in the ground. Enriching the soil before you plant can improve the quality of the soil and give your tree’s roots a good start.
4. Use Organic Mulch
Organic mulching is another wonderful way of making the roots stronger. This can be done at any time during the life of your tree. It involves applying materials such as pine straw, leaves, or bark chips to the soil surface. Cover the ground around the tree with two to three inches of mulch and leave a gap between the ring of mulch and the base of the tree to prevent root rot.
Since the roots are beneath the soil surface, you may wonder how this helps. There are a couple of ways it’s useful. First of all, mulching is a great way to control weed growth, and no weeds means no other plant life is vying for the nutrients the tree needs. Mulch is also essential for moderating soil temperature. It helps keep the roots warmer during the cold seasons and cooler during the hot seasons. This provides the roots with a stable environment where they can thrive and grow stronger.
Mulch also helps to reduce the wide swings in moisture content in the soil around the roots. This is done by preventing evaporation in the place surrounding the tree or plant. This is especially important during the hot, dry months.
5. Transplant Early If Necessary
If you’ve had your tree for some time, and it doesn’t seem to be thriving where you’ve planted it—maybe due to inappropriate sunlight or poor drainage—it may be necessary to transplant it to another part of your yard. This can be done by carefully digging up the tree and planting it in another location. If transplanting looks to be necessary, do so as early in the tree’s life as possible. A smaller, younger tree will make the transition better than an older tree. It’ll also be easier to uncover a younger tree’s root system.
Make sure you dig up as much of the tree’s root ball as possible, being careful not to damage the roots. Prep the new soil as described above, and replant your tree. Transplanting a tree can be a hard job, but it’s worth it. Moving your tree to a healthy environment will help in keeping the roots stronger.
A tree’s root system determines its overall health. Take a look at a healthy, beautiful tree. You can be sure that the tree also has healthy and strong roots. If you have questions about keeping the roots of your trees stronger, need assistance transplanting a tree, or need an expert hand in caring for your trees, a certified arborist such as Mr. Tree in Portland can help you out. Give us a call today.