Soils are an important part of a tree’s growing space and are often a limiting factor for growth in urban environments. Soils in urban landscapes can be altered during construction, leading to compaction and nutrient deficiencies.
Compacted soils can restrict root growth or otherwise suffocate roots by reducing the flow of water and oxygen into the root system.
Soil is the primary source of nutrients needed for tree growth and a tree’s ability to uptake nutrients can be affected by soil pH levels even if adequate nutrients are present. Visit; yorkvillelandscaping.com
A soil test should always be conducted before applying fertilizers to your tree. The results of a soil test will inform appropriate treatments specific to the tree species based on pH levels, nutrient deficiencies, soil texture, and porosity.
An arborist can collect a soil sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis, then recommend treatments based on the results. Some treatments may include carefully aerating the soil to reduce compaction while avoiding root damage and incorporating prescribed amendments or organic matter to modify soil pH, improve the tree’s ability to uptake minerals and nutrients, and invigorate root growth.
Snags are standing dead trees and an important element of a healthy ecosystem. They provide roosting sites for birds and bats, denning sites for mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, food storage areas for woodpeckers and squirrels, food for insect-eating birds and mammals, and critical nesting sites for nearly 40 species of birds west of the Cascade Mountain Range. Snags are a limiting factor for wildlife in urban and residential areas, but more and more, arborists are working with homeowners to retain or create snags where it can be done safely.
Dead and dying trees and trees with peeling bark, cavities, decay fungi, and other parts typically termed “defects” can provide tremendous wildlife benefits. Individual wildlife species have preferences for different habitats, so a wide variety of hardwoods and softwoods, short and tall snags, and small and large cavities scattered across a landscape is most beneficial.
Don’t think you have to have a giant dead tree in your yard to provide valuable wildlife benefits. Some species, like chickadees, prefer short snags or tall stumps.
While large over-mature trees tend to have more defects and structural complexity, all trees are potential wildlife snags.
Innovative arborists concerned about the loss of wildlife habitat in urban forests have developed thoughtful approaches to creating snags from live trees by mimicking natural succession. Some techniques involve girdling branches or tree trunks, reducing trunk height and creating a jagged top, drilling holes, cutting out cavities, and forming roosting slits.
Dead trees are not necessarily dangerous, but the potential for failure will increase as the tree decays over time.
A general rule of thumb for managing risk potential is to reduce the height of the snag to at least 1.5 times the distance to a potential target (i.e. people or property that could be injured or damaged if the tree or part of the tree were to fail).
For example, if you are considering retaining a snag located 60-feet from your home, reduce the height of the snag to no greater than 40-feet. Has your snag been inspected by a qualified arborist periodically to help manage risk potential?