If you have a newly planted tree, it is important to understand and implement daily root care. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about taking good care of your tree’s roots in order to promote strong, sturdy growth for years to come.
Although they are the least visible part, roots are highly important to the overall health and sustainability of a tree. That is because they are responsible for transporting nutrients throughout a tree. The better care you take of your tree’s root system, the better foundation they are able to create for your tree. You may not be able to protect your tree from every type of damage, but there is plenty you can do to promote optimal growth and health with routine root care. And it all starts with the soil.
Daily and Weekly Root Care
Be sure you are regularly watering your newly planted tree. But keep in mind that too much water can be just as harmful as too little. Use your best judgement to determine when and how much water your tree needs. A general rule of thumb is to check the soil for moisture. Healthy soil is moist, not soggy, mushy, or soaked. If the soil is still adequately moist three inches down, the tree does not need a watering. Just be sure you check it every day by digging 3 inches deep with a garden trowel and touching the soil with your fingers.
In addition to checking for soil moisture every day for the purpose of watering, it is also important to inspect the soil conditions to ensure it is health. As mentioned, healthy soil is moist, not soggy. For the first few months, it is wise to assess the soil’s moisture levels to confirm it is still conducive to healthy root growth. Do this by locating the tree’s dripline, digging a small hole, and inspecting the malleability of the soil. Read our blog, “How to Measure a Tree’s Critical Root Zone”, for help locating your tree’s drip line. If the soil can be formed into a ball, it is healthy.
Seasonal Root Care
At least one time a year, you should manually cultivate the soil beneath your tree. You can accomplish this with ease by using a standard hand cultivator to cautiously loosen the top 2 to 3 inches of soil. This eases compaction, thus allowing water and air to reach the roots. Soil compaction is one of the most common causes for tree decline.
Furthermore, it is important to apply a new layer of mulch to the base of your trees right before every spring season. Mulch is incredibly important to root care for many reasons. Not only does it protect against sun scorch and excessive heat that dehydrates soil, it also acts as a barrier to physically protect exposed roots. Additionally, mulch adds valuable organic matter to the soil. Just be sure to not exceed 2 to 4 inches of mulch, and keep it 6 inches away from the trunk of the tree.