What’s wrong with planting trees in turf?
When people think of trees they often mistakenly envision the root systems as a carbon copy of the canopy that appears above ground. That is, root systems seeking water and nutrients deep into the soil.
This is often not the case in Northern Nevada where soils are typically rocky, dry and deficient in organic matter. When trees are planted in grass their roots have no incentive to go deep. Assuming the lawn’s in good shape all the water and nutrition a tree needs exist in the top 18 inches of soil and that’s exactly where the roots will grow. Some pictures are worth a thousand words and I think these photos do just that.
For many people this is already a problem and rather than simply saying, “Don’t do this” we do have a few tips.
Dig a tree well (remove the grass and leave a depression) several feet from the base of the tree. Fill the depression with quality compost and cover with mulch.
Water trees slowly, deeply and less frequently. Their needs are different from the surrounding lawn.
Stay away from 2-4D, Weed-B-Gone is the most popular culprit. The same ingredient that kills broad leafs such as dandelions and clover also kills, guess what, wait for it, TREES!!!!
It’s unfortunate that by the time you see symptoms of stress in your trees, it’s often too late to correct the condition. We’re happy to help if you’re concerned.