another leaf pile observation


Well after reading and contributing to the thread about piling leaves around trees, today in Knoxville, I noticed that ALL the young saplings planted in the median strip of a shopping center were piled THREE FEET high and three foot wide with mulch, chopped grass and leaves. Made me want to go to every tree and kick each and every one of those piles to pieces and hear each tree gasp in relief and gratitude. I started paying closer attention as I drove down the main road in Knoxville and sure enough, almost every maintained shopping center that was planted in these beautiful trees of all varieties (including the hated Bradford pear) were piled up in these weird three foot by three foot leaf, grass and mulch volcano's. Are these people nuts???? Given time, these poor things will grow shallower roots and come a good wind sheer or intense storm or tornado, these trees will topple like overstacked blocks.
I cannot believe landscapers are so uneducated. Especially when I received a letter from UT Agriculture warning us to enlighten new gardeners and home owners against the practice to pile up around the trees like this. And this was widespread throughout the whole city as far as I could tell.....arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
I finally got home and had to go down into my woods to sit and look at the perfect blanket of leaves, pine needles, pinecones and debris lying about in my fallow woods to remind myself that Mom's Nature knows how to take care of her trees......... just my observation today after reading this thread this morning. (I assume this practice is done all over the place, since I'm in Tennessee and the original post was in another state).
madgardener slipping back into the woods now
-- Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." Chief Seattle
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madgardener wrote:

Someone knows exactly what they're doing. They're guaranteeing that there will be plenty of landscape work that the shopping will need to contract-out to repair the damage.
"Gee, Mr. Shopping Center owner. That's what always happens to trees planted around parking lots. We'll be glad to remove the trees, and replace them for a tidy sum." "And while we're at it, for another tidy sum we'll resod all those areas where our mowing and watering schedules causes shallow root systems to develop." "We'll even gladly charge you to spray a bunch of chemicals that have a great resale mark-up on them just so it looks like we're doing our best."
You're not likely to hear a landscape maintenance company say, "Let me follow this course of action. It'll be so successful that you'll hardly need me for anything but a little routine maintenance in the future." They don't make money doing that! And some other landscaper will come along and say, "They're hardly doing anything for you. Pay us (more), and we'll do more."
On the other hand, landscape companies founded and run by people who's only landscape experience came from working for companies that perpetuate a need for them may actually be dumb enough to think they're doing the right thing.
--
Warren H.

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good point!
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I do not see the connection between piling up these leaves and creating a shallow root system. True enough, as mentioned in the previous thread, there are better ways to do this and avoiding other problems that injure the trees. If these leaves eventually decompose and work their way into the soil inside the drip line, that should nourish the tree. The other approach is to drive fertilizer spikes deeply into the ground, but I think that is unnecessary, in this case. Rain and melting snow will eventually drive these nutrients down to the roots. I mean, how else are you going to practically fertilize a tree except from the top? If you try to extend the feeding beyond the drip line, you run into other problems with nearby grass and run the risk of the nutrients going to something other than the tree. I agree that piling up raw leaves is just a way for lazy people to either get rid of pesky leaf piles or give the impression that they are making an effort to feed the trees. The three feet of mixture they used was overkill, especially in Knoxville where the winters are not so bad, and leaving no gap next to the trunk is inviting a host of other problems. I also believe that putting a proper 'blanket' over a tree (especially a young sappling) is a way to improve on nature. There are plenty of young trees in forests that never make it.
Sherwin D.
madgardener wrote:

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Well after reading and contributing to the thread about piling leaves around trees, today in Knoxville, I noticed that ALL the young saplings planted in the median strip of a shopping center were piled THREE FEET high and three foot wide with mulch, chopped grass and leaves. Made me want to go to every tree and kick each and every one of those piles to pieces and hear each tree gasp in relief and gratitude. I started paying closer attention as I drove down the main road in Knoxville and sure enough, almost every maintained shopping center that was planted in these beautiful trees of all varieties (including the hated Bradford pear) were piled up in these weird three foot by three foot leaf, grass and mulch volcano's. Are these people nuts???? Given time, these poor things will grow shallower roots and come a good wind sheer or intense storm or tornado, these trees will topple like overstacked blocks.
I cannot believe landscapers are so uneducated. Especially when I received a letter from UT Agriculture warning us to enlighten new gardeners and home owners against the practice to pile up around the trees like this. And this was widespread throughout the whole city as far as I could tell.....arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
I finally got home and had to go down into my woods to sit and look at the perfect blanket of leaves, pine needles, pinecones and debris lying about in my fallow woods to remind myself that Mom's Nature knows how to take care of her trees......... just my observation today after reading this thread this morning. (I assume this practice is done all over the place, since I'm in Tennessee and the original post was in another state).
madgardener slipping back into the woods now
--
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
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