To keep trees healthy, protect bark from mowers, trimmers

Updated Jun 24, 2019
Place a flexible plastic trunk guard around the bottom to shield the bark from inadvertent damage. Photo: YouTube.comPlace a flexible plastic trunk guard around the bottom to shield the bark from inadvertent damage.
Photo: YouTube.com

Like the skin of the human body, a tree’s bark protects it from injury and illness.

When damaged, it can mean the loss of branches and, in some cases, the death of the tree. As the Killeen Daily Herald in Texas notes in an article, you can help clients protect their landscaping investment by educating them about how to keep trees safe and healthy.

Most tree damage occurs in the lower foot of the trunk, especially the point at which it meets the ground, known as the root flare. While Mother Nature can do her worst sometimes, humans cause by far the most frequent damage to trees, specifically when we mow, weed and build structures near them.

Advise your clients to take one or more of the following steps:

  • Keep equipment like mowers and string trimmers away from tree trunks.
  • Physically pull out grass and weeds by hand from around the base of the tree, going out at least 2-3 feet.
  • Place mulch around the base of the tree but take care not to pile it up against the trunk; in fact, it’s best if the mulch doesn’t quite touch the trunk itself.
  • Place a flexible plastic trunk guard around the bottom, to shield the bark from inadvertent damage.
  • As a last resort, use a herbicide to kill unwanted plant life around the base of the trunk, thus removing the necessity of coming close to the tree with mowers and trimmers.
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