Along with insects and diseases, mechanical injuries can be just as devastating to a tree. Constant contact with a weed wacker or a lawnmower can cause irreversible damage.

Landscape Injuries Example

As experienced as some lawn maintenance technicians can be, it is nearly impossible to weed whip without making contact.

Thin bark trees will show the damage externally. The bark will become stripped and may even become girdled. Heavier bark trees such as maples and oaks receive internal injuries, which leads to decay. These trees become more susceptible to insect and disease problems over time.

We recommend installing a mulch ring around the trees. This will prevent the machinery from getting near the bark and will stop any further damage. Be sure the mulch is a level layer to the ground. Do not build the mulch up to a cone shape.


Overwatering Damage

Over Watering

Overwatering trees and shrubs in the first five years after planting is the most common reason for death. More often than not, people are overwatering their plants and trees. This can damage and even kill landscapes leaving you with no green leaves and less green cash.

When a plant is watered, the roots serve as storage tanks and the plants draws nutrients and moisture when needed. The most active water absorption comes from the tree’s drip line. This is a line straight down to the ground from the outer perimeter of the canopy, much like water running off the edges of an umbrella. This drip line is where you should water, not the trunk of the tree.

Regardless, if you water by your sprinkler system or by a garden hose, trees and shrubs only need about 20 minutes of water two times per week.

Transplant Shock

Transplant Shock Damage

Transplant Shock

Whenever a shrub or tree is moved, it will suffer some degree of transplant shock. This is just a reaction to being moved. This is generally caused by some damage to the feeder roots during the transplant. These are the little thin roots located furthest from the tree. Their job is to carry nutrients and moisture.

Trees and shrubs can produce many symptoms of transplant shock. Sometimes, it is overlooked as insect or disease issues. Below are some of the signs to look out for:

  • New growth will stop
  • Very little growth
  • Small leaves
  • New growth quickly turns brown and falls
  • New buds barely open
  • New buds don’t open

Following nurseries instructions are crucial. Most shrubs and plants come with instructional tags to give you guidance. The best defense against transplant shock is education about the tree or shrub you are planting.


Pruning Damage

Photo of pruning damage – credit: Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service,

Pruning is an important key to the health or your landscape. When done right, it can prevent stress and promote vigorous growth.

Below are keys points to remember before you start pruning.

Regular pruning of a new plant will help maintain it’s natural form and size and prevent corrective pruning later.

  • Time your pruning to prevent stress and damage
  • Educate yourself on proper cutting techniques so branches aren’t cut too long or too short
  • Know why you are pruning (growth, disease, injury, insects, etc.)
  • Clean all tools thoroughly when dealing with disease trimming

When done right, your landscape will benefit from a regular schedule of pruning.

Whatever you decide, the longer your landscape is left untreated, the greater the chance the affected trees and shrubs will undergo unrecoverable damage. Your landscape represents a growing investment worth protecting.