Here at Invest from the Ground Up headquarters, we hear a lot of tree myths floating around. Read on to learn about some common misconceptions about trees.
Myth 1: Anyone can plant a tree correctly!
Truth: It’s true anyone can plant a tree, but to growing a healthy tree that can provide you with optimal benefits requires thoughtful care. Right from the start, it’s important to choose the right tree for the right place, to use proper planting techniques and to prove adequate care for it. For example, providing structural pruning consistently in the first 3-5 years will result in a stronger, healthier tree with less maintenance costs as the tree ages. Click here for additional information about proper planting and maintenance.
Myth 2: Trees require too much water.
Truth: Trees do require water, however probably not as much as you think─ The San Diego Urban Region Council reports that most San Diego area trees only require about $10 worth of water each year. It also depends on the species. There are many beautiful drought tolerant trees to choose from such as the California Sycamore, Crape Myrtle and Jacaranda. In addition, for most trees it is mostly critical to water them in their early years and during the summer months. See our Waterwise brochure for more tips.
Myth 3: Lots of mulch is good.
Truth: Mulch is important as it suppresses weeds, holds moisture, and protects against extreme temperatures. While a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch can be beneficial, excessive amounts of mulch may disrupt soil moisture and aeration. It is best to keep adding small amounts of composted material over time, tapering the depth of the mulch as it gets close to the tree trunk.
Myth 4: Planting trees deep encourages strong, deep roots.
Truth: Trees should never be planted deeper than the top of its root ball. Improper planting is the number one cause for tree and shrub death. Tips on proper planting.
Myth 5: The tallest or bushiest tree at the nursery is the best one to buy.
Truth: The tallest tree may actually be weaker than smaller specimens in the same size container. While aesthetic features are important, tree trunk, branch and root system structure are far more critical to the long term success of the tree. Early structural (trunk/branches) or root system problems are often the source of failure (breakage) of the tree many years later. Tips for tree selection.
Myth 6: Always stake trees after planting.
Truth: Trees will be stronger if not staked. The movement of young trees by wind strengthens them. If the planting site is constantly windy, stake after planting but be sure to remove stakes in 6 – 12 months.
Myth 7: Tree wounds can heal.
Truth: Trees cannot heal damaged tissue. Instead their defense mechanism is to wall off damaged areas from healthy areas through a process known as compartmentalization. The damaged tissue will remain isolated within the tree for life. You should be careful and thoughtful with equipment such as a lawn mower around your tree.
Myth 8: Topping is good for trees.
Truth: Topping is one of the most harmful things to do to a tree. In fact, after planting too deep, topping is the next major cause for tree decline and death. Topping creates weak, stressed trees that are unsafe and end up being more costly.
Myth 9: Trees grow in the forest without maintenance, so they don’t need it in my front yard either.
Truth: Trees in urban areas have to contend with many additional stressors including limited rooting areas, confined spaces, pollution, dry orpoorly compacted soil, asphalt and concrete, etc. It’s tough being a urban tree, give them some love.
Myth 10: He advertised in the yellow pages as a tree expert, so he must be.
Truth: Anyone can put an ad in the Yellow Pages or call themselves a “tree expert.” Watch out for those who come up to your door and pressure you or offer a deal that’s too good to be true—harmful pruning can cost you more in the long run. It’s best to go with qualified ISA Certified Arborists and request several references. Always require insurance certificates and a detailed, written contract.