Feature

5 ways to: Keep your trees healthy

G Magazine

Trees offer a range of benefits from keeping our air clean to harbouring wildlife and increasing property value. To help choose a suitable tree for your garden, see the current issue of Green Lifestyle magazine.

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This year, Aboriculture Australia has teamed with Nursery & Garden Industry Australia to support its ‘More Trees Please’ campaign. This second stage of the ‘Improve Your Plant/Life Balance’ campaign is about the importance of trees to our health and wellbeing; and this means keeping our trees healthy too. Tree consultant Hugh Taylor shares his advice on how to take good care of your trees.

1. Consider the conditions: For the most part, trees can take care of themselves after the initial watering and fertilising when planted. Once their roots firmly settle in the soil, there’s no need to pamper your tree. The key is to pick the right tree for your environmental conditions so the sun and rain do all the hefty work.

2. Give them space: Taylor reminds us that, though it may be hard, we need to let our trees be, rather than poke and prod them. “Trees can live 200–300 years without human interference.” Admire your trees, don’t smother them.

3. Don’t over-pack: Compaction of the soil around the base of a tree can be very damaging, as it affects the roots of the tree. “It stops air and water filtration,” says Taylor. So park your car away from your trees.

4. Mulch regularly: Adding a 7 cm layer of mulch around the base of your tree will protect it from exterior dangers such as sharp lawn equipment. This also keeps moisture in the soil and helps the soil maintain a steady PH level. Taylor says it’s important to choose the right mulch. “Don’t use pine mulch with eucalyptus trees because it’s the wrong PH level. Instead, use eucalyptus mulch to keep the tree strong and healthy.”

5. Be Careful: Taylor also reminds us to be careful when mowing and gardening. “If you scrape the surface
of exposed roots, you scrape away feeder roots.” These little hair-like roots play a major role in supplying water and nutrients to the tree, so it’s important not to damage them.