Homeowners in newer developments need to be on the lookout for tree and shrub problems. Unfortunately, poor soil, improper planting and bad mulching practices can cause long term problems. Whether you’re in a brand-new development or one that’s been around for several years, you’ll want to read on to learn the warning signs to look for and how the Villas of Newtown saved their trees with help from Giroud.
The Problem with Trees in Recently Built Developments
When new homes are built, the nutrient-rich topsoil is scraped away. There are also many other problems, including poor drainage, compaction, and soil that’s altered during grading. This soil is unsuitable for healthy growth.
For more information, check out Penn State’s Department of Agriculture Extension webpage for Understanding Tree Planting in Construction-Damaged Soils
It’s important to plant a tree correctly in order for it to thrive and grow. If a tree is planted either too deep or too shallow, it can lead to the development of poor root structure over time. An unhealthy start for a young, new tree can lead to structural problems as the trees grow.
When a tree is “volcano mulched”, meaning the mulch is piled high up on the trunk of the tree, the roots mistake the mulch for soil and grow in the wrong direction causing Girdling Roots. As roots grow up and around the trunk, they can strangle the tree over time as the trunk grows thicker! When mulching, you or your landscaper should always leave at least a 1” space between the tree trunk and the mulch.
Warning Signs of Distress:
Here’s what you’ll see if your tree is suffering:
-yellow and/or brown spotted leaves
-tree is leaning
-early leaf drop
-the tree canopy is not leafing out fully
Thankfully, your Giroud Arborist may be able to correct any problems and reverse the damage done to your trees. That’s exactly what an entire neighborhood in Bucks County did.
How the Villas of Newtown Community Saved Their Trees
In the Spring of 2017, members of the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) at the Villas of Newtown were concerned about many of the trees throughout the neighborhood. This beautiful 55+ Community in Bucks County, PA has a wide variety of trees, including Zelkovas, Maples, Pears, evergreens and more. The leaves of many of these trees were plagued with yellow, spotted leaves and looked like they were declining. They needed help fast, so they called on ISA Certified Giroud Arborist, Erik Rodgers.
“Their trees are an important part of the community,” says Erik Rodgers, “They had been planted only about 10 years ago, and they want these trees to be around for the residents to enjoy for many years to come.”
Erik saw that many of the trees in this development were improperly planted to begin with, likely buried too deep in the soil. Additionally, when the Villas of Newtown homes were built, the soil was likely stripped of healthy nutrients and vitamins found naturally in the ground. Plus, most of trees had girdling roots due to years of improper mulching.
Erik developed a plan to save the trees. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the Giroud Crew airspaded about 400 trees and clipped away all of the girdling roots. An airspader blows away the soil and exposes the roots so they can be cut from the tree. Then, the roots are re-buried under the soil.
Check out this video of Crew Leader, Bill Santry, airspading some of the Holly Trees at the Villas and learn how deep to plant a new tree: