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How to Recognize and Combat Soil Compaction Around Your Trees in Denver


November 18, 2016

Soil compaction is major issue in terms of tree care in Denver due to the suppression of oxygen and water to the roots. The more the soil is compacted, the tighter the space and the less space there will be for air and water to freely flow to the roots of the tree and deliver proper nutrients. Restricting nutrients can severely limit the growth of any plant - and is generally one of the first causes of a tree’s lack of growth. Think of it like water flowing through large rocks or gravel versus water flowing into a plank of wood. It would take much longer for the water to reach the center of the wood, but it would travel quickly through loose rock. Consistent pressure is typically the common cause of soil compaction around trees.
 

How do you know if you have soil compaction around the roots of your trees?

Generally the most common areas where soil is compacted is in high traffic areas - meaning, places where there is a heavy degree of foot traffic. Because it happens deep beneath the surface of the ground, it is sometimes difficult to gauge whether the soil is heavily compacted, or minimally. Your local tree care service would be able to test by penetrating the soil with a device to manually measure where the soil begins to harden.
 

Girdling Roots

Most homeowners would not be familiar with the term “girdling roots” but it is important to know how it happens and what it means for your trees. In the basic sense, trees are girdled by added pressure around the base of the roots - essentially cutting off the bottom of the root from any nutrients. A similar concept would be the way a tight rubber band on your wrist might cut off circulation to your hand and adversely affect the rest of your arm. Girdling roots can inhibit the tree trunk from continuing to gain strength and will slowly cause your tree’s health to diminish.
 

So how do you treat compacted soil?   

Simply creating air space within the soil can remedy this situation. A common solution is aerating the ground around the tree. At American Arbor Care  we offer air spading services to assist with the assessment and remedy of this issue. Compacted soil can also be treated  by adding mulch or organic substances into the soil. Promoting air flow  through the soil will increase this space surrounding the roots and allow water and nutrients to flow freely to the most important part of the tree. Mulch can prove very beneficial on top of any compacted areas (once aerated)  by protecting the soil from becoming compacted again. Generally, wood chips will act as shock absorbers to ensure your soil is protected from further compaction in high traffic areas.
 
Are you concerned about soil compaction and your landscape? Contact the team at American Arbor Care to help diagnose end remedy any ailments associated with your trees or plants. Our dedicated staff will ensure we provide you with the best solutions for your home and landscape. Another common root problem is how to effectively hide tree roots in your Denver landscape - learn more about how to combat this and other common issue through our weekly blog. Stay up to date with the best advice and recommendations from your local tree care service, American Arbor Care. Follow us on Facebook to get the latest updates!
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