Getting to the (tree) root of the problem
September 18, 2017
You'll often see stone or concrete berms (raised borders) built around trees. These berms are used as a means to keep groundcover away from tree trunks, or may even be used as a raised planting bed around the tree. Unfortunately, as a tree grows, these berms can impede tree development and cause a lot of damage.
Excavating buried construction materials around tree roots is not for the faint of heart. Our ISA Certified Arborist Laura McLarry and her tree crew spent most of the day on this project unearthing a berm that surrounded the client's front focal tree, a beautiful Sycamore.
Everyone involved suspected that the berm surrounding the Sycamore contained discarded construction material - the client, the client's building contractor and our Laura McLarry. With a plan in place and caution tape marking off the perimeter, the crew got to work taking away the heaped-up soil so that the tree's root flare could be exposed. They were also tasked with removing whatever their excavation work exposed and keeping the root system safe while they worked. This meant much of the work was done one handful at a time
Besides the irrigation lines, there were chunks of concrete, nails, wood and lots of snails!
Laura relocated the family of harmless (and beneficial) garter snakes. While the rocks and tree roots made for a welcome home for the snakes, the situation wasn't ideal for the health of the tree.
The crew also used our Air-Spade to help safely expose the root flare, vastly improving the oxygen availability for the tree. With the berm and its contents removed, the area around the base of the tree could now be smoothed and leveled, bringing it more in line with the rest of the yard.
The "after" pictures round out the story. Plant health care applications are scheduled for the next few months and we will continue to monitor the tree's progress.