A healthy tree is the product of a growing environment that can readily supply the elements and materials essential for growth. Above ground these are primarily comprised of light and carbon dioxide, while below ground healthy growth depends on oxygen, water, and a number of elements and minerals present in most soils. At Full Circle Tree Care we offer soil enhancement practices like mulching, vertical mulching, aeration, root pruning and tree fertilization. In the urban setting construction activities can limit the availability of oxygen and essential elements through soil compaction and topsoil removal. The removal of leaves and grass clippings from the urban environment also contributes to a less than optimum growing environment for trees. Incorporating leafy material back into the ground will build better soils for plant growth over time. If the essential elements for growth are lacking or unavailable fertilization is an option but its need should be confirmed with a soil nutrient analysis and a PH test. Soil density should also be assessed, if soils are too compacted to support tree growth, then more than mere fertilization will be needed to improve the growing conditions.
Fertilization or Other Enhancement Procedures?
Soil nutrient samples are a necessary first step in deciding whether to fertilize or not. Foliar sampling may also be useful in assessing the need to fertilize. Soil enhancement practices might include the use an air compressor and AirSpade to move soil in the root zone carefully without damaging tree roots, allowing for the incorporation of soil materials more favourable for root growth. Incorporating materials in this way is referred to as vertical mulching or radial trenching. Below ground issues can also include girdling roots, roots which wrap around the trunk, restricting sap flow and growth. Severe cases can result in tree decline. Girdling roots can be exposed with the use of an air spade, and carefully pruned out where feasible.