African Garden + trees

Make It Stop! Make It Stop!

This is a tree:

notice how the base of the tree flares out at ground level.

This is a telephone pole:

notice how it does not flare, but goes straight down into the ground.

Although it is not obvious on first glance,

this is not a telephone pole.
This also is not a telephone pole.

Why do people think trees should look like telephone poles?

Another mystery to me is why people started making mulch volcanoes. I had thought it was just a problem here in Chicagoland, but then, when I was in South Florida I saw this:

yes, it's a Palm tree volcano.

While no man is an island, this poor tree clearly is.

Am I just being picky, or does anyone actually think this looks good? Aesthetics aside, mulch volcanoes and turning trees into telephone poles by planting them too deeply or raising the grade damage trees. These practices lead to surface girdling roots. This is a mild example of what a surface girdling root looks like.

When it surrounds a tree trunk, a surface girdling root can strangle a tree, causing its death.

But volcanoes and telephone poling aren't the only forms of tree abuse. This is a whole new level of wrong:

landscape fabric and rocks. This poor tree is drowning and suffocating (and probably strangling as well).

And then there is the other extreme, the tree surrounded by lawn.

Unlike this poor Palm tree, most trees are denizens of the forest. (I know, that seems a bit obvious, but too many people miss the point.) It is not good for trees to be grown in a lawn with the grass right up to the trunk. The most obvious problem is that the tree becomes an obstacle which must be mowed around, and too often, the mower takes a hunk out of the tree trunk, or the weedwhacker takes a whack, injuring the tree.

It definitely isn't a pretty sight. Trees also do better when they don't have to compete with grass.
This is a happy tree.

It is not suffocating under a mound of mulch or buried too deeply. It coexists with the groundcover surrounding it and looks natural and healthy. What is so hard to get about this? Is it asking too much to stop the abuse of trees? Don't even get me started on tree topping.

art, better, garden, good, mulch volcanoes, plants, rants, surface girdling roots, tree abuse, and more:

Make It Stop! Make It Stop! + trees