By Cindi Sullivan
We are making good progress on the tree inventory! The Phase I inventory includes your front and side yards; during Phase II we will add the back yard trees so that we create a complete and accurate inventory of the trees in St. Regis Park. I truly appreciate the graciousness and the warm welcome from the residents that I have met, and I share your enthusiasm for this project. I would like to offer some information and maintenance advice based on some of my observations as I have been surveying the city.
Trees and Vines
I have come across several yards that have ground cover around the trees and some of those ground covers – English ivy, Euonymus, Vinca (and even some poison ivy!) – are making their way up onto the trunks and into the trees.
Although you may see photos of vines growing up trees in some gardening publications, it is really not a good idea. Vines will compete with the tree for available water, nutrients, and sunlight. The added weight of vines in the trees will also make the tree more susceptible to wind and ice damage. A regular maintenance project should be to cut the vines at the base of the tree so that they don’t get a chance to affect the tree. If vines have made their way into the tree, simply cut them off at the base and again as high up as you can reach, removing a section of the vine so that the flow of water and nutrients is cut off. Leave the vines to decompose on their own; often, trying to pull the vines off or out of the tree can cause damage to the bark and branches.
Applying a layer of mulch over the trees’ root systems is a great idea. Mulch helps to hold in valuable moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed competition. Organic mulches have the added benefit of improving the condition and structure of the soil around the tree as they decompose. A two to three inch layer of mulch is sufficient for providing these benefits. When applying mulch, never put the mulch directly up against the trunk, leave at least three inches between the tree and the mulch. Mulch piled against the trunk will trap moisture that can create an environment which will allow bacteria and fungi to attack the trunk. It also creates a hiding place for rodents that might damage the tree by chewing on the bark.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the Tree Board Meeting on Monday, November 17, 7:00 p.m., at the McMahan Fire Department, 4318 Taylorsville Road.