What's New in Tree Care
by Ruth S. Foster

Good tree health begins with the roots and the soil they grow in. Contrary to what we used to believe, we now know that the vast majority of tree roots are in the top foot of soil. Also, they grow far beyond the drip line of the outermost leaves, grabbing up water and nutrients where ever they can find them.

That's why it's hard to grow lawns under shallow rooted trees like maples, beech, hemlock, and pine. That's also why willow, maple, and poplar roots too often find their way inside our sewer pipes.

To spread and thrive, all roots need soil that's high in numerous minute microorganisms, (millions of them) which facilitate the uptake of nutrients and promote good health. They go by strange names like mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial nitrogen fixing bacteria.

How can you get these microorganisms? Where possible, let the leaves lay where they fall, to decompose and make natural compost. At least as far as your aesthetic sensibilities can stand it.

One trick: If you have ground cover, the leaves of autumn will disappear under the plants by spring and turn into compost which is a rich source of beneficial microorganisms.

Compost is a rich source of beneficial microorganisms. They can also be purchased from your local nursery. These are natural products, made from nature's own laboratory from Plant Health Care, Inc. and Organica Lawn and Garden Products.