Planting a tree is a great thing to do on so many levels. It reduces your home’s energy costs, increases its retail value, improves mental health and air quality, and reduces erosion. There are plenty of great reasons to plant a tree!
A newly planted tree is a vulnerable thing though and as such it requires a little protection. Young trees need sufficient watering and fertilization.They also need protection from equipment, animals and the elements. Trees are susceptible to sunscald and frost cracks in the winter. Deer, mice and other small mammals also love to chew the thin bark of tender young trees in the winter, leaving them girdled. Equipment, like lawn mowers and weed trimmers when they are carelessly bumped into a tree’s trunk, can damage the bark. Any of these threats can potentially harm or kill a tree.
Choices in Tree Guards
One of the ways you can protect your tree from hungry animals who might like to make a snack of a young tree’s tender bark is by installing a tree guard around it. Tree guards come in many styles and forms. Some are better than others.
CLC’s Resident Plant Health Care Specialist, Pam Cook explains;
“I see a lot of the big black o-rings installed on new trees and it makes me cringe. People want to protect their trees from trimmers and rodents, but there are big problems with them. While equipment might not damage the trunk, the field tiles provide great protection for earwigs and gypsy moths. Predators of those bugs can’t get at them, so colonies thrive within the warm, moist environment. They can climb up the trunk during the day to eat in the tree, then return to the safety of the tree guard at night.
Unfortunately, it also makes for a great place to lay eggs, threatening the health of the base of the tree. So often, I see bark scaling and rotting off underneath those rings. Where people think they are protecting their trees, in fact they are killing them.”
What should a concerned homeowner do then? Look for alternate tree guards.
- Arborguards are ventilated plastic sleeves which can be expanded as your tree grows. The holes allow the trunk to breathe, but offer protection from animals or other equipment which might damage your young tree.
Spiral guards are similar to the ventilated plastic tree guards. They are a more flexible alternative though, which easily expands with your growing tree.
- Adding a layer of mulch around a tree creates a buffer between your tree and any equipment that might come in contact with. It doesn’t protect against animals, but it adds the bonus of increased moisture retention and nutrients returned to the soil as it breaks down.
If you have questions about how best to protect your young trees from the elements, animals or equipment, contact CLC Tree Services. We will gladly offer suggestions on what products to choose and which to stay away from.