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January 12, 2018

Maintaining Healthy Trees- Removing Turf From the Base

There are many considerations to be made in the healthy maintenance of a tree and it can be hard to see where to begin. However, the health of your trees can be much improved very easily, especially while a tree is still young.

One very simple step to take, is the removal of grass from the base of your tree.

All plants must compete for a limited number of nutrients and water in the soil. In the case of a tree, grass is a serious competitor and is usually the champion.

Grass around the base of a tree also needs to be maintained. As tree roots become more prominent, the lawn mower can damage them, causing problems for the tree.

There several ways to remove the grass from the base of a tree. Here I describe 2 of the simplest and cheapest ways to tackle the issue.

Method 1: Using a Shovel

  1. Using a shovel, carefully remove small areas of grass, making sure you don’t scrape the tree roots.
  2. It is best to dig two-to-four inches down to ensure all the turf is removed, including the roots.
  3. Remove the turf out as far as the drip line, the area defined by the outermost circumference of the tree’s canopy from where the water drips onto the ground.
  4. Be aware that small roots may be in the area. If there is resistance don’t force it and cause damage.
  5. Once you’ve removed the grass, you can choose to lay a weed barrier membrane but it is not essential. Apply mulch all the way around the tree, out to the drip line.
  6. It is advisable to keep the mulch about five inches away from the trunk, as it can attract unwanted pests.
  7. Water it in thoroughly and prepare to enjoy a healthier tree!

Method 2: Using Newspaper

  1. Cut grass beneath the tree to a level height.
  2. Lay newspaper down over each section of the grass, overlapping as you work. Use a reasonable amount of paper- 8 to 10 sheets deep should be sufficient.
  3. Work out to the dripline as described above.
  4. Soak the paper with water, and then add mulch on top.

5.Water thoroughly.

  1. The grass will probably take about a month to die. The newspaper will simply decompose so it is not necessary to remove it.