Posted June 30, 2021 by Dr. Wei Z
There are a lot of new discoveries about trees. For example, the one-year warranty you received for your newly planted trees has nothing to do with the establishment of the trees. It typically takes 2-5 years of watering and care before they are established. Another example is that volcano mulching is detrimental to trees, but it is so common! Moreover, over- and under-watering, shallow watering by irrigation systems, compacted soils, limited soil volume, and de-icing salt all contribute to the problems we found in urban forestry.
We have been promoting the best practices, but we have so much push back from professionals, including those with great reputation. We have been told that doing the right things (warranty longer than 1 yr, loosening up compacted soils, watering the root ball AND surrounding soils) would prevent them from winning bids for projects! It is because they have to compete with someone with no certification, no proper training and no knowledge. How can well-trained, certified professionals compete with these people? The answer is about educating your clients about long term benefits! It is nothing new that cheap contractors probably cost a lot more in the long run. It take years for a newly planted tree to provide benefits (shade, stormwater runoff, air/water quality). Replanting year after year by a low-bid contractor will not only cost more eventually, but you will have much less benefits from these trees.
I was invited to a podcast by Amy Tetreault of Tree Care Industry Association and we discussed some of these aspects. Below is the link to Youtube for the whole episode of the podcast: https://youtu.be/6H0S_Aip-_I
Greg Sager, Director, Hanover County Parks and Recreation, Virginia