• Timothy Snell

Newly planted trees/shrubs require routine and thorough watering regularly for at least three years after planting. Trees use water even during winter.

During mild winters, where temperatures are above normal and the ground thaws, give your tree periodic watering. You should water your trees 2 times a week in the winter if there is not a good soaking rain during the week. In summer, you will need to water 3-4 times a week.

Well-drained, sandy soils will need more water more often than a loam or clay soil. The best way to water a newly planted tree is to place a soaker hose at the base of the tree for several hours or run a slow trickle of water from a garden hose for several hours until the soil is thoroughly soaked.

Avoid short, frequent watering, which promotes development of a shallow root system that is more vulnerable to drying out and other stresses.

Mulching around the base of the tree is an important part of long-term tree care. Mulch keeps the soil moist, limits weed growth, and discourages injury from lawnmowers and weed-eaters.

Wood and bark chips are good mulching materials. You can use a porous landscape fabric as a weed barrier underneath the chips, but don't use plastic because it suffocates the roots. Apply a two- to three-inch layer of mulch and spread it to form a circle at least three feet away from the trunk. Keep the mulch from direct contact with the tree trunk.

Maintain the mulch ring to keep grasses from competing with the tree.

And that's it! If you take the time to care for your newly planted tree, it will thrive and bring you many years of enjoyment. For more planting guidelines, visit https://www.delahuntys.com/plant---flower-tips.

  • Timothy Snell

(Figure 1)

If you have ever seen a tree in the same situation as the landscape Red maple pictured above, you may not know that there is anything to be concerned about, because frankly, you may not know much about trees in general. That's totally fine because that's where we come in, the ISA certified arborists at Snell Tree Experts. Allow us to tell you what's wrong with this situation: First and foremost, the tree's interface between trunk and roots, aka 'root collar,' is seemingly non-existent (fig. 1). Here's an example of what a healthy root collar should look like: See those beautifully designed 'buttresses' that come off the base of the trunk and seemingly disappear into the ground (fig. 2)? That’s the root collar!

(Figure 2) (Figure 3)

The inordinate presence of root collar issues, especially those trees whose root collars are buried, have mulch piled up against their trunks (fig. 3), or have girdling roots (roots that encircle the root collar and constrict it – fig. 4), brings to light one major factor behind why so many trees have root collar issues: Lack of public awareness that there is a problem to begin with.

We as arborists fully understand that you the tree owner are just trying to do the best you can to care for your tree with what limited resources you have, be that proper equipment or knowledge. It is then our duty for us to inform you that you can prevent many tree issues that you encounter by starting with how you take care of them!

(Figure 4)

So, why is a tree's buried root collar a concern for you as a tree owner? There just so happens to be a few problems behind this seemingly unimportant and common feature: A buried root collar encourages girdling roots to develop, which essentially choke your tree to death; soil and mulch mounded around the trunk will cause the base of the tree to rot and possibly increase the likelihood it will fall over; and tree health will decline due to the roots not getting sufficient oxygen, which will in turn make it more susceptible to pests and diseases that will kill it.

Thankfully we can help change root collar issues with some corrective techniques and awesomely innovative industry tools. A 'root collar excavation' (figures 5 and 6) can be performed by using hand tools or a high-powered pneumatic air tool to loosen the soil that is mounded around the trunk of the tree (fig. 7). At this time, an inspection can be done to determine if any root pruning is necessary (remember the pesky 'girdling root' previously discussed?). If we act before it's too late, we may be able to prevent you from having to remove your tree. Your tree will be thanking you for saving them from a life of chronic illness!

(Figure 5)

(Figure 6)

(Figure 7)

  • Timothy Snell

Here in Fuquay Varina and surrounding areas a number of our clients have ash trees. Within the last few years, the Emerald Ash Borer (abbreviated "EAB"), an invasive insect from Asia, has moved into North Carolina and begun wreaking havoc on the state's ash trees. (https://www.ncforestservice.gov/forest_health/pdf/EAB_NCPesticidePub.pdf)

Once Emerald Ash Borers have begun attacking an ash tree, it's usually only a matter of time before the tree dies, as the EAB larvae disrupt the flow of nutrients in the tree's cambium layer. For clients who have ash trees in their landscape and would like to protect them, treatment needs to be done BEFORE the ash tree is attacked.

Snell Tree Experts offers treatment options of ash trees to help protect them from the Emerald Ash Borer. Call our office at (919) 557-3507 or email us at Office@SnellTreeExperts.com to request a site visit and quote from our ISA Certified Arborist (Tim Snell, #SO-2907A).