Should you let grass grow around trees? There are many theories on this subject, so our team at Tri-State Tee Service, your trusted experts in tree health care in Pensacola, FL, is here to give you the facts.
Is it Wise to Get Grass to Grow Up to a Tree Trunk?
When planting and caring for trees, it’s tempting to let them grow as nature intended. If you go into a forest, you see undergrowth at the base of the trees, so how is that different from grass growing around the trunk?
The difference is that a garden setting is not natural. Even if you only use indigenous plants, you decide where to put each one; it’s not some random natural process. Grass competes with the tree for water and nutrients, but, more importantly, mowing poses a physical threat.
The main reason to answer, “Should you let grass grow around trees?” with a resounding “No,” is the potential damage from lawn maintenance.
You Can Damage the Bark
It’s easy to nick the bark if you run the mower or trimmer too close. The tree can shrug the occasional wound off, but if it happens repeatedly, it’s a problem. Irrespective, open cuts in the bark leave expose the innermost layers, leaving the tree vulnerable to pest damage and disease.
You might also bruise the tree, causing damage to the vital veins that transport moisture and nutrients.
Open Wounds Attract Insects
The sweet-smelling sap dripping from the wound attracts insects that might harm your garden. Ants and other wood borers can move in, putting your house at risk.
Trees’ feeder roots come very close to the surface. While they’re safe from mowing, they are not safe from other lawn maintenance procedures, like aerating the soil and digging in compost.
Even feeding the lawn could be troublesome for the roots. Fertilizers may burn delicate root systems. The tree may also suffer from nutrient overload in one category and deficiency in another as you cater to the grass’s needs.
What Is the Alternative?
You can manually cut the grass around the trees and take care of it with other maintenance tasks. However, that makes it challenging to create an even lawn. A better solution is to clear the grass completely so that you have set zones for the lawn and the grass.
We recommend clearing the area from the trunk right until the outer edge of the canopy. The roots don’t extend beyond this point, so it’s not a large area. You can install a new bed or mulch the area to keep weeds in check.
The mulch ring also helps the soil retain moisture and prevents the roots from drying out too much. It’s useful in keeping the soil temperature even and will decompose, adding nutrients.
Call Our Team for Professional Advice
Should you let grass grow around trees in your garden or opt for a different solution? For this advice, along with advice on other matters like caring for trees with deep roots, call Tri-State Tree Service at (850) 876-8003.