Saturday, November 10, 2012

trees vs. turf

Trees and turf, when used in the same area, will compete for many of the same soil ingredients. So, a concentrated effort should be made to make sure that trees and lawns are compatible. Grass is, for the most part, a sun-loving species, and will not grow well in areas where there is less than 50 percent open sunlight. However, new species of grass with a greater tolerance for reduced sunlight are being introduced. Consult a professional arborist for more information about the competition experienced between trees and turf.

A Lawn as the Primary Design Feature

In areas where a lawn is the primary design feature, you should select woody plants or trees that do not root near the soil’s surface. Keep in mind that tree roots grow larger as trees get older. Shrubs, trees and lawn grasses all require and compete for sunlight, space for rooting and sunlight. Some plants even exude chemicals that are designed to restrict the growth of competing plants. For plants and trees to get the nourishment they need, no matter what their species, they must have adequate space to grow.

Planting New Trees or Shrubs

New trees and shrubs being planted should be given should be given special attention to receive adequate water, nutrients and sunlight. Refrain from tilling the soil around trees and remove competing sod from around transplanted trees and shrubs.

Benefits of Mulching

Mulching is another method used to eliminate competition between trees and turf. A 2-4 inch layer of wood chips, or bark over the soil and under its drip line is recommended. Mulching helps in retaining soil moisture, reducing weeds growth, increasing soil fertility and improving the overall appearance of a lawn.

Tree and Turf Maintenance Practices

Maintenance practices for trees and turf are of course different. The fact that tree and grass roots quite often exist together in the upper 6 to 8 inches of topsoil means that treatment of one may actually cause damage to the other. As a result, other plants can absorb fertilizers applied for one plant. In most cases this is a good thing, but excessive fertilization of either trees or turf can result in over-growth of one species over the other.

Herbicides and weed killers used in turn can severely damage trees if misapplied. Be on the lookout for applying herbicides on windy or hot days (when vaporization can occur). While most herbicides are not known to kill tree roots, there are some on the market that will. Make sure you read the product’s label before applying.

Watering Trees and Shrubs

Watering is essential to all of life. On average, trees and shrubs depending on the species need roughly the equivalent of one inch of rain every seven to tend days. Trees and shrubs in tropical environments may require more. Frequent watering, if shallow, may not meet trees and shrubbery watering needs. For most people, knowing what to plant, when to plant, where to plant, and when and how much to fertilize is beyond them. That’s why it makes perfect sense to get the opinion of a professional arborist who can best estimate your property’s needs.

Call Trees "R" Us, Inc. for a free estimate today. We can be reached at, or by telephone at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading,

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