It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time… How to (Accidentally) Kill a Tree

Don’t you just find it alarming and depressing when trees inside your property inexplicably start to die?

How can huge and towering trees simply die without any apparent reason? Well, there are actually a bevy of reasons why trees wither and die. But are you aware that there’s a chance that homeowners can inadvertently cause their trees to die?

In this article, we want to share with you five ways that you can accidentally kill a tree. Here they are:

Staking and Girdling the Tree

A lot of people use stakes and rope to support their tree’s growth.

But guess what?

Trees only need support for a short period of time. When you stake a tree too long, it can damage the bark and cause abnormal trunk growth. Moreover, it can also make the tree become top heavy.

The same is true when you girdle a tree.

Surprisingly enough, plenty of people also think that they are doing the tree a favor by wrapping its bottom part with plastic. They believe that this is enough to protect the tree against the sharp edges of some gardening tools like lawn mower blades. Unfortunately, doing this will sometimes suffocate the tree and/or encourage the growth of harmful microbes.

Soil Compaction

Does this sound familiar to you?

Probably not.

The same with staking and girdling trees, only tree experts know that soil compaction can eventually kill your plant.

In case you have forgotten, plants do not just gain much-needed sustenance through their leaves, they also rely on their roots.

Unfortunately, when the soil gets compacted, water can’t be effectively absorbed by the roots. Usually, when homeowners plan to build improvements in their yard, they forget to consider the effect that it will have on their trees. Most are oblivious to the fact that sometimes, compaction can cause the soil to be so densely packed that the earth can’t effectively absorb rain and nutrients from the topsoil. In other words, your trees will be cut off from all the necessary resources that they need to grow healthy and strong.

Filling Tree Holes with Concrete

Back in the days, tree cavities and hollows were filled with concrete in order to strengthen the tree trunk.

But is this really an effective remedy?

Unfortunately, it has already been proven to cause more injury to the tree instead of helping it heal faster. The concrete inside the tree will prevent water and air from being absorbed. Additionally, there’s a chance that the stiff concrete column inside the tree hollow will trap in microbes causing rot to spread through the rest of the plant from the inside.

As always, tree cavities are best healed without your intervention. Let the tree heal itself, or avail of the services of a tree health specialist.

Not Pruning the Trees Properly

Before we go any further, let me just ask this to you: Do you know when is the right time to prune your trees?

Probably not, unless you are an Arborist or you are interested in learning everything about tree care.

There are some tree species that should only be pruned during autumn, while there are other species that will die if they are not pruned during springtime. The point is, you have to know the right time when to safely prune your tree. Trees that aren’t correctly pruned become vulnerable to parasites and diseases. As a matter of fact, improper pruning is the top cause of death among trees.

Still not convinced?

One of the worst forms of improper pruning is known as topping. This type of pruning refers to haphazardly cutting to completely get rid of the tree’s crown. This will not just cause physical trauma and cut off your tree’s nutrient source, your tree will also have to divert all its regenerative capabilities to replace all the lost branches and leaves.

Improper Care

And of course, not properly taking care of your trees can  make them vulnerable to parasites and diseases. See to it always that you are providing your trees with the proper amount of water and fertilizer. Spray regularly with pesticide as well.

A caveat: When it comes to using pesticides and herbicides make sure that you have sought the opinion of tree experts before using them.

If you love having trees in your home, then the least thing that you can do for these majestic natural air cleaners is to take care of them properly and consider their space and nutrient needs in every improvement project that you do with your property.