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How to Promote Root Growth in Trees

Trees are a vital part of almost every type of landscape. They are adored for their ability to provide shade, foods like fruits and nuts, aesthetic appeal, entertainment (climbing), and...

Trees are a vital part of almost every type of landscape. They are adored for their ability to provide shade, foods like fruits and nuts, aesthetic appeal, entertainment (climbing), and of course, oxygen. They are deeply embedded in folklore, infused with symbolism, and etched into the minds of all human existence. For some of us, our love of trees goes even further—they are our friends, our confidants, our livelihoods, or they might even feel like our babies. We love them, nurture them, and want to do everything within our power to get them to thrive and grow stronger.

What Do Trees Need to Thrive? 

Well, first, you need to ensure you know exactly what it is they need to thrive. Just like animals, trees have simple basic survival needs: water, nutrients, air, and shelter.

Please note, I am using the term, “shelter” very loosely, and you may find it odd that I have mentioned it at all because trees, more often than not, provide shelter for so many other creatures in this world. The case remains, though, that if the weather is not tolerable, the tree won’t survive without some sort of protection from the elements beyond its own adaptive abilities. So yes, in their own way, trees do need an element of shelter.

Beyond providing for those basic needs, there are a few other things you can do to not only ensure the health and longevity of your trees but also expedite their growth. 

How Can You Promote the Growth of Your Trees?

There is no one-size-fits-all model for trees, but keeping the following tips in mind can be beneficial for all trees if you have done your due diligence to determine your tree’s specific needs.

Prune your tree when and how it wants it. 

Pruning your tree may sound counterintuitive when it comes to wanting to promote growth. It’s no different than a hair cut though, when you cut off all of the dead or damaged pieces, it enables healthy growth and deters unwanted breakage. Pruning isn’t only necessary to remove unhealthy branches, though. 

Just ensure you have studied up on when and where to cut because hack job can do more damage than good. It’s important to prune your tree at the right time and in the way it needs it. Some trees, like non-flowering trees and those that flower in the summer do best when pruned in mid to late winter, whereas for others it could be detrimental to that year’s new growth. 

Pruning can help promote healthy growth and prevent disease when done correctly. It should be done carefully to avoid damaging the tree, however. Your tree is a living thing and, although pruning can encourage new growth, prevent self-strangulation, and deter the spread of disease, we have to remember that every cut is also creating an open wound. This being the case, you should show prudence when determining whether or not your tree needs pruning and we can’t stress enough how important it is to carefully consider each cut. 

Make sure your trees are getting ample water at their root system. 

Too often, trees are watered only by rainfall and/or sprinklers. Any many cases, the plant may survive such conditions but if you want to help them reach their full growth potential, you have to consider their hydration preferences. Trees that are watered deeply typically grow faster and are healthier than the same varieties of trees that are watered above the surface. In the latter case, the trees are using their energy to stretch their roots up toward the surface to quench their thirst rather than using their energy for growth as they would if they were watered deeply at their root system. 

Please note that watering deeply doesn’t mean watering excessively. Each tree type will have it’s own moisture requirements but regardless the variety overwatering can lead to root rot, so make sure to do your research as to what the requirements for are for the species in question. 

Nourish your tree where it needs it most.

As you probably realized in the last tree growth promotion tip it is important to first consider the health of their root system, if you want to optimize the growth of your trees. After all, root growth is where it all “stems” if you will. Not only do trees prefer to be watered deeply at their roots but they are also able to better absorb nutrients when they are supplied directly to the root zone. 

Fertilizing the tree will help to provide the nutrients it needs to promote growth. Make sure to use a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for your tree and soil type. When possible, opt for a locally-produced compost, or make your own. Doing so ensures your plant is getting the specific combination nutrients it needs for the area in which it resides.

Provide “shelter” for your trees.

Think about the particular variey of tree in question. What is its optimal natural environment? Did it originate in dense forests, sheltered by other trees much like itself? Is it a tropical plant with a thick canopy protecting it from too much heat? Regardless of the condition, at the very minimum, sheltering the base of the tree with a thick layer of mulch can help by keeping the soil temperature and moisture levels from quickly transitioning due to weather extremes. It will also keep weeds at bay, meaning less competition for important nutrients in the soil. 

Avoid compacting the soil. 

Compacted soil can inhibit root growth by restricting the movement of oxygen and water. When possible, avoid excessive foot traffic around the base of the tree. Aerating the soil often can also help with this. 

Here’s an easy way to move forward with most of the suggested steps for promoting tree root growth.

While we can’t help with pruning or mulching around your trees, we do want to share a single tool that can help with getting ample water to the tree roots, providing nutrients exactly where they need it, and aerating your soil.

Root Quencher is an underground watering device that can hook up to your current irrigation system, whether that be a drip system, sprinkler system, or a simple garden hose. Because it is delivering the water underground, there is no water waste and the tree is getting hydrated where it needs it—the roots. Adding fertilizer or compost tea can be added directly to the device, meaning your plants will be nourished at the root system as well. Furthermore, because the water and nutrients will be moving through the ground via capillary action, it is naturally aerating the soil. 

Are you ready for a journey toward healthier, happier trees? Get your Root Quencher to get started.

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