DIY Yards and Health

DIY Yards and Health
Helping the Do It Yourself home owner in making themselves and surroundings healthy

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to get rid of rising tree roots?

Rising Tree Roots

As a tree gets older we see more and more roots rising to the surface. Most folks are not aware that tree roots NEED OXYGEN. Air molecules or macro pores in the soil are essential for healthy trees. Heavy clay soil with water saturation guarantees root rise.

If planting in heavy clay soil, one help is to do radial trenching (three trenches extending from the root ball back filled with rock, mulch and existing soil to give roots a path and to create a drainage from the root ball. Grass will like this too so it will often be greener down the trench area. The important factor is to plant the tree mounded up so the ball is not deep down in the planting hole and the root flare is definitely above the planting level. Try to plant where the tree is not in a low spot in the yard where lawn sprinklers flood the roots.

In an example like the photo above, your best bet is to simply create a tree well (or even a new planting bed) the size of the exposed roots - covered in mulch, then plant shrubs and flowers that tolerate shade in that area. You can put sand and soil mix over the roots and replant grass however the roots over time will continue to rise.

Here is a good university link on Tree Root issues

Why a Tree Well?

Why a Tree Well?

Always look at how a tree grows well in nature to learn how to get it to grow well in your yard.

Trees create natural tree wells with their needles or leaves which creates an environment for moisture and oxygen over the roots.

However there are other important factors - keep in mind the vascular systems (think veins and arteries) are just under the bark, so a wound with a mower or a weed eater can kill a tree. Another problem is spraying weeds with something like 2-4d over the roots can kill a tree.

Why do trees create natural tree wells is also to get rid of grass and other plants that will compete with fertilizer and water over the roots of the tree. Many people I have worked for have wanted grass up to the trunk stating they want it to look more natural but the truth is look at a forest environment - trees and grass are in direct competition with each other.

I really like this mulch

Mulch is one of the most important ways to control weeds and even more importantly it helps cool and dampen roots around trees.

Mulch is normally created in a forest environment by leaves or pine needles dropping from trees and protecting the root area around the tree. However in an ornamental setting we rake up these leaves and needles.

A good way to keep the ornamental setting looking nice yet build an environment that will give your tree roots water retention, oxygen and prevent weeds is to create a tree well around the tree and add a nice mulch.

I really like Scott's Nature Scapes - it comes in an easy to transfer bag. The wood chips are slightly broken down and even smells like good earth. Dye is added so it does not fade as fast as most mulch. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to avoid Powdery Mildew

My wife asked me what was on our plants in the back yard...hmmm married to a Master Gardner and guess what we have?
Powdery Mildew!

This weather is perfect, cool to hold moisture then hot to promote fungus growth on a roller coaster ride and the plants are showing it.

Couple of rules to keep in mind. Plants (including your lawn) needs to be dry by nightfall - fungus grows when wet in the dark.
Number two is air movement is important - many back yards (especially with the plastic fences) have little to no air movement and create a humid enviroment that is ideal for problems.
If you don't want to tear down the fence we can spray a fungicide but it needs to be done sooner than later.
Which means I'm headed out to the back yard to spray right now.