The Silent Killer

This past Wednesday at our weekly Safety Meeting, our President Brandon Brown talked to us about the “silent killer of trees and shrubs”. Any ideas on what it could be? It’s compaction! When soil is so tightly packed together, plants suffocate and die; pore space and air is essential to tree and shrub health.

Brandon gave us a very hands-on example; he told us a story about when he was an intern and was tasked with giving a presentation on what might be killing a group of trees on a large, corporate property. Brandon discovered that since the company had planned on building a bridge, they had compacted the soil to an equivalent of brick. Trees can’t survive in soil as dense as bricks! It was no wonder why the trees were dying. Brandon explained this situation by using two pieces of bread. He held one slice up and explained that, since the bread is porous-like, you can hold it right up to your face and are still able to breathe through it. This is how soil should be for trees and shrubs. Then, he flattened another piece of bread with a rolling pin; he held it up to his face, but couldn’t breathe through it this time. It was too compacted. This is the same with soil; if trees are placed in an environment where their roots are too tightly compressed, they won’t be able to breathe and will subsequently die.

Don’t let compaction kill your trees and shrubs! Talk to your arborist today about this silent killer and find out how to help your trees breathe easy.