Whether the tree in front of your building is old or new, it will need care throughout the year. As the hot summer comes to an end, the tree needs less watering but it still needs your help. Here's what to do to keep our community trees on #theother5th and beyond healthy and happy:
- Keep the area around your tree free of trash and animal waste. Not a lovely job, but dog urine burns the tree bark and dog waste contains bacteria that the soil doesn't like. To help, put-up a sign explaining this, a lot of dog owners do not actually realize. Another tip is, when watering, give the whole tree pit a wash to clean off any waste and urine so other dogs don't follow suit.
- Pull up weeds growing around your tree. Weeds compete with the tree for vital nutrients and water.
- Pull weeds throughout the season, but be especially careful to pull weeds in the early fall before they dry and their seeds spread.
- Your tree needs to breathe, so make sure the pit is also free of bricks and heavy items that stop the roots from growing. A larger tree pit ensures the roots won't buckle up the sidewalk slabs in its quest to get oxygen.
- Loosen the top two to three inches of soil to help water and air reach the tree’s roots. Be careful not to damage the roots.
- Add one inch of compost to the soil around your tree. Be sure to keep raised soil away from the trunk of the tree. You should be able to see the base of the tree where the trunk begins to spread into roots.
- Create a ring of mulch around the base of the trunk. Make sure that no mulch touches the trunk. Mulch should be shallow (three to four inches deep) but wide; the ring can be as wide as the branches of a newly planted tree. Mulch smothers weeds, helps retain moisture and makes good compost when it breaks down.
- Replenish mulch as it breaks down and replace it every spring at it will be contaminated by toxic salts from winter snow removal and dog waste.
- Please don't chain bikes or wrap anything around the tree which can damage it's bark and strangle the tree.