May 15, 2020

Stress Relief for Trees

Stress and anxiety levels seem to be constantly on the rise these days. With all the circumstances that add to daily stress, it’s important to find ways to alleviate the tension build-up. In short bursts, stress is beneficial for your body, but over time it actually causes damage to your immune system, weakening your defense against disease and illness. Preventative steps like meditation, yoga, or behavioral therapy help to offset the damage, however.

Drought stress works the same way in trees. There are many ailments that target trees, some of which target specific species. With healthy trees, these afflictions have a hard time taking hold. On the other hand, once drought stress has caused enough damage, trees become unable to fight them off. 

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A healthy tree would've been able to fight off these bark beetles

A regular watering regimen is essential for lowering the risk of drought stress, and for helping trees recover. Watering won’t help as much, however, if it’s all being gulped up by grass too close to the thirsty roots. Grass has a multitude of small roots, and will selfishly absorb high amounts of water quickly. 

Luckily, there are solutions that provide more benefits than just keeping the grass at bay. An island of sheet mulching, alternating between different soil enriching materials, out to the drip line is a fantastic option. It enables the creation of quality soil while keeping away grass. The layers also keep the water from evaporating quickly. 

If plain mulch doesn’t satisfy your aesthetic desires, mix in shrubs and herbaceous plants; non-woody perennials such as Oriental poppies, Mayapples, and Peonies. These will not only look nice but also provide natural fertilizer over time, without hogging all the water. 

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Peonies are a great choice for planting around trees.

Setting aside time for yourself is essential. Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting still, in fact, there are several tasks that become a type of moving meditation. For many, gardening and caring for their land gives them the same benefits as others get from sitting still. Taking the steps to protect your trees from stress may also improve your own health at the same time. What are you waiting for?

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