Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Right Tree In The Right Place...

...Has been a buzzphrase for many years with arborists and foresters who work with trees in urban settings. This photo, (By Xiomara Levsen, Washington Evening Journal, Washington, Iowa; Used with permission.) not only illustrates why choices are important when planting, it also shows why you must re-evaluate trees and their environment periodically. This is a large tree in a small, restricted space. It probably fit this spot when it was planted, but in the years since there has been a new building added, with fill dirt and a retaining wall. That hurt the roots on one side of the tree.

On  the opposite side of the tree we see a roadway. Tree roots do not grow well under gravel or pavement. It appears from the shape of the roots that they may have been severed with a trencher. Anyway, this tree had limited rooting ability on two sides, which made it prone to tipping, and that is what it did. The only clue the tree shows that it was not in perfect health is one dead limb shedding its bark on the side above the roadway.

Anytime you are going to plant a tree it is a good idea to talk to a forester or arborist to discuss suitable choices for your site and situation. As your trees grow it is also a good idea to have them evaluated occasionally for problems that might arise as they mature. In this case, no-one was injured, but there is structural damage to repair, plus the expense of a tree removal. This tree should have been removed when the construction was being done around it, and a small to medium size tree should have been installed as a replacement.

Many Thanks to the Washington Evening Journal for allowing me to republish their photo.