EATON — Few residential trees die of “old age.” Mechanical damage and improper tree care kill more trees than any insects or diseases. Few of these items by themselves would kill a tree, but multiple problems will certainly stress a tree, and could eventually kill it.
Avoid making the tree-damaging mistakes listed below.
1. “Top” a tree to encourage watersprouts that weaken the tree and encourage pests.
2. Leave co-dominant leaders to encourage “V” growth and splitting during winds and storms.
3. Leave crossing branches to rub protective bark and create wounds.
4. Ignore insect or disease damage.
5. Coat pruning cuts with paint or sealer to slow healing and promote pest problems.
6. Leave broken branches unpruned to encourage pests.
7. Spray unapproved herbicides over tree root area to weaken tree.
8. Damage roots and trunk with lawn equipment.
9. Rip through roots when digging trenches.
10. Plant close to a house or obstacle to reduce adequate tree and root growing space.
11. Attach items to tree to damage bark and girdle branches with wire and rope.
12. Prune randomly to leave branch “stubs.”
13. Leave tree staked until guy wire girdles trunk.
14. Leave wrap on to constrict trunk growth and rot bark.
15. Pile up excessive mulch to encourage rodent damage and bark rot.
16. Stack items atop roots to cause soil compaction.
17. Plant near a downspout to assure excessive water or water lightly to encourage shallow root growth.
18. Dig a hole too narrow and over amend backfill to discourage proper root spread.
19. Dig a hole too deep or fill with gravel to collect water and drown roots.
If you are the type of person who wants to take care of the trees or plants in your yard, keep reading. The Preble Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Plant Sale has trees, shrubs, and perennials to fill in those empty spots in your yard or to take the place of trees or plants that have been taken out. In the evergreen department is White Pine, Norway Spruce, and White Cedar. Hardwood species offered this year include Sweet Gum, Ohio Buckeye, Sugar Maple, Redbud, Persimmon, Black Elderberry, Lilac, Witch Hazel, and more. Perennials for sale include Butterfly Milkweed, New England Aster, and others. The Plant Sale ends March 20. Check out our website at www.prebleswcd.org for an order form, or call Preble SWCD at 937-456-5159 for more details. Information contained in this article courtesy of Virginia Cooperative Extension.