By: Jake Hyet
If you have planted some new trees on your property, or even if you want to do better by the ones you have, there are many things you can do to both help the environment and keep your trees healthy and thriving, using wood chips and newspaper is just one thing. Here are some eco friendly tips for tree care and conservation:
Chemical Free Mulching
Why not forget about using chemicals and use an eco friendly method to kill existing grass. First begin by edging the bed to disconnect the grass and weeds from surrounding plants that can work against you by keeping them alive.
Next cut the grass as short as you can get it in order to make it dry out faster. Cover the area to be mulched with newspaper or cardboard. The benefit of this is that it makes a temporary but extra layer of mulch to help kill off the grass. Also, the paper will gradually break down and improve the soil below it.
Spread a layer of shredded bark or wood chips over the cardboard. About 2 to 3 inches should do it. Keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree to avoid future insect, disease and rodent problems which can arise and lead to the need for tree surgery. The wider the bed, the better the tree likes it.
If a large mulch bed isn’t part of your plans for your garden, then try planting shade and drought tolerant groundcovers under your trees. You’ll find that these types of plants are better suited to the environment and less competitive with young trees than grass is. You might consider Deadnettle (Labium), ginger (Asarum), coral bells, and perhaps foam flower (Tiarella) just to name a few. Don’t put soil over the roots of the trees. Instead, plant the groundcovers in the existing soil and mulch to hold back the onset of weeds and conserve moisture.
If you allow your lawn mower to shred the fallen leaves and allow them and the grass clippings normally left on the lawn to do their job, they should provide plenty of fertilizer, thus giving your trees the nutrients they need so that they don’t become sick and require tree surgery.
Now here’s a tip you probably didn’t know about. Never move firewood. How can this be harmful to your surrounding trees and wildlife? You might ask.
Well, the “Never Move Firewood” rule got its start due to the damaging effects caused by the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, or the EAB if you prefer. The EAB is an invasive bug, tiny enough to actually fit on the head of a penny, and thus difficult to track down and detect in nature. When you move firewood, you are unknowingly transporting the EAB beetle, spreading it to new areas, and in the long run endangering more trees.
How this little critter does its damage is like this. The larvae of the EAB beetle tunnel under the bark of the tree, disturbing the tree’s system for transporting food and water. If this keeps up, it will eventually starve and kill the tree. The fact is that tens of millions of trees have died because of the nasty effects of the EAB beetle, which can now be found in various states, such as New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and many more.
In order to help prevent the transfer of the EAB beetle and help stop any further damage from happening to our trees, it’s recommended that you burn local firewood, rather than buying wood which has been transported from another area.
Biography: Jake Hyet is considered an expert in canopy tree surgery and maintenance. He worked for several years for a professional tree service and now writes extensively on the topic of tree maintenance and how to keep your trees environmentally friendly using things like canopy wood chips and newspaper, etc.