Keeping Trees Healthy During the Hot Summer

Young trees are very fragile and intense heat like the Wabash Valley has been dealing with can damage trees soon after you plant them.

Posted: Jul. 5, 2018 10:59 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - People aren't the only ones who struggle in intense heat during the summer, trees do as well.

Young trees are very fragile and intense heat like the Wabash Valley has been dealing with can damage trees soon after you plant them.

Tree experts say taking care of a tree begins with how you plant it. They say nearby plants can take much-needed water away from the tree you are trying to grow.

"that root zone be free of competitive plants that are going to take away the water even grass takes away water from your tree. Trees don't really prefer grass they like mulch like they have in the forest." ISU grounds manager Stephanie Krull says.

A Vigo County Parks Department tree expert showed me how to properly situate a healthy tree and what it's surroundings should look like.

"So we've planted this tree and unfortunately we didn't get to mulching the tree immediately and so what we wanted to do and what we've done here is strip the sod layer off around the tree so we don't have any competition growing and we're not throwing that mulch on top of the sod or grass layer" Adam Grossman with Vigo County Parks Department says.

Grossman says placing mulch in a certain way around a young tree is necessary for its survival.

"You want two to four inches of mulch underneath your tree so you can stick your fingers in the mulch or put a tape measure in the mulch to make sure you really have that two to four inches, more importantly, you don't want to make what's called a mulch volcano and that's putting mulch up on the base of this tree" Grossman says.

Grossman says if you mulch too high around the tree it can cause many problems like rot and holding moisture against the tree.
The oppressive heat the Wabash Valley often has during the first weeks of July can significantly harm young trees. Experts say to always watch your trees to ensure their survival.

"Trees when you first plant them need extra watering and extra attention for the first 2-3 years until they become fully established in the soil because those roots need to almost be as big as the top of the tree before it can live on its own extra attention," Krull says.

Experts say if you are concerned your tree is in danger to water it regularly and watch its surroundings. If the branches snap off experts say that is a sign that the tree is already dead.

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