As I have reported in the past, we have lost a lot of our urban forest canopy in Richmond Hill over the past number of years due to an invasive species – The Emerald Ash Borer (click here or here for past articles about EAB or see article below). This insect has decimated the Ash population in communities across Ontario, and the mortality rate for Ash trees has been predicted to peak in Richmond Hill over the next couple of years. Combined with the impact of the Ice Storm of December 2103, we have needed to remove and replace many trees in our town and Ward 4 has been particularly hard hit. Our staff is in the midst of planting and supervising the planting of over 3000 trees on residential streets. While many of these trees are planted on Municipal rights of way, and as such are the responsibility of the Town, I know that many of our residents are very interested in the seeing these trees prosper and adding value to their neighbourhood as the trees grow and mature. This interest in making our town “greener” is appreciated by all of us that live here!
I have asked our Arbourist staff to prepare some information about how homeowners who have received a new tree in front of their house might be able to help in caring for it. Below are tips that are recommended by the experts! If you have any questions or concerns about this please do not hesitate to contact myself or a member of our Arbourist staff.
- Monitor moisture content of the trees root zone periodically to ensure adequate water is reaching the roots. Check to see if the soil surface is moist beneath the wood chips.
- Leave the wood chip layer around the tree and to keep 10cj (4″) deep layer. Wood chips help minimize weed and grass growth, reduce soil moisture loss, and provide nutrients to the tree as it breaks down.
- If the grass in the area of the tree has turned yellow (dormant phase), it is likely that the tree is also in need of water. You can help the tree by pouring 2 or 3 pails of water slowly around the base of the tree to allow water to absorb into the soil.
- Call the town if the tree appears to be different from others on the street or appears to be dying. (In early Spring when trees are leafing out, one to two weeks of delay for some trees in relation to others can be expected and is considered normal).
- Overwater the tree. Symptoms for overwatering and drought are very similar. Leaf edges turning brown, scorched appearance, leaves turning black, or leaf drop are usually signs of too much or too little moisture in the soil.
- Attach or hang objects on the tree as damage can occur.
- Plant flowers, dig or excavate the ground around the base of the tree, as the roots can be cut or damaged.
- Mound soil or mulch up the trunk of the tree as it affects water movement to the roots and air and gas exchange at the roots, which leads to damaged roots and promotes poor rooting habits.
- Create planter boxes around the base of the tree, as this changes the grade, affect movement of air, gases and available water in the soil for the roots.
- Perform any work on the trees like pruning.
- Use nylon cord trimmers to trim grass around the trunk of the tree. Broken/cut bark will lead to the death of the tree. Hand pull any grass or use hand trimmers around the base of the tree if needed.