Hi all! Question for you regarding an 80-foot oak I have..... Over the
years the grass that has been under the tree has receeded, leaving bare
dirt around the base of the tree. This isn't problematic and is
probably good in that weedwackers aren't messing with the trunk.
However I see the dirt is eroding around the tree and I'm wondering if
I should put a few inches of top soil or something around the base to
compensate for the erosion? It just looks to me like something negative
might be setting up to happen here over the years and as this is a
really big and grand old tree (almost 3 foot diameter trunk, much wider
at base) I want to take good care of it!
Thoughts and suggestions are welcomed -- thanks!
Are you sure that erosion is happening? Sometimes the root flares
"bulk up" so that the tops push above the soil line. That could look
The working part of the roots is way out from the trunk, at the
dripline and beyond. Those are the little tiny hairs that do all of
the nutrient absorption. The rest of it is just plumbing and needs
soil only for structural support.
I would leave it alone. The tree sounds like it is doing just fine.
I concur... leave it alone. Oak trees tend to be particularly sensitive to
changes in depth of soil over the roots, as lots of people have found when
they regrade their yard and shove some soil next to the trees. 3-10 years
later, they get to have the tree removed.
Also, if the OP spots something that appears to be a disease, read, read,
read and read some more, before you bring in a tree "expert" who charges all
sorts of big money to stick vials of medicine into the tree. While young and
impressionable, my wife & I paid some huckster who said our 50 year old
sycamore had 6 months to live if he didn't do all sorts of treatments.
Turned the tree into a pincushion for a couple of weeks. The next season,
the tree was rid of the fungal thing, and two years after that, too. Then,
it came back. We read. Turns out sycamores survive the illness just fine
without any help, thank you. Otherwise, Rochester NY would have dead
sycamores all over the place. All we had to do to help it a bit was to stop
using its diseased leaves as mulch all over the yard. No idea if it helped,
but the tree's still rockin' and rollin'.
Thank you all for your advice! I prefer to err on the side of letting
nature care for them, but in suburbia man messes with it more than is
best and I'm never quite sure if somehow I'm sabotaging it
inadvertantly. I've done nothing to that part of the yard except mow,
so I'll leave well enough alone. Thanks again!
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