Why do trees die in middle Tennessee?

Why am I writing about “Why do trees die here in middle Tennessee?”. Returning to check the trees we previously helped plant, we were shocked by what we saw. The weed wacker had completely damaged the bark of all the newly planted trees

keep weed wackers and land mowers away from tree trunks
visible damage to young tree close to ground

Remove by hand the grass growing through the mulch close to the tree trunk . The main purpose of the mulch is to keep away lawn mowers and trimmers. They are what causes the most injuries to trees. The mulch also keeps moisture under the tree and should ideally extend to the drip line. Unfortunately there is not much we can do to repair any damage to the bark. Wound dressings are expensive and ineffective. Trees do not heal they hide their wounds.

We came back and set plastic gutter tubes to protect the trees from future damage.

Damaged tree sprouting again from the ground
protecting tubbing should be set on young trees when they are planted

We will follow up to see how the trees grow. According to the University of Maryland Extension’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, if 50 percent or more of the circumference of the bark is damaged, the tree might die, and if the trunk is damaged all the way around, it will likely die.

Why do trees die?

To better understand why, we need to know how they live. Learn about photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, translocation. Watch a 30mn presentation by forester Dr. Dave Mercker from the University of Tennessee Extension Service. It is part of the popular series “Back Porch Forestry”. Why do Trees Die?

Tree diseases in Tennessee

Agricultural centers across the US monitor forests. Trees die from diseases; Laurel Wilt disease on Sassafras, Canker diseases on Walnut trees, Emerald Hash Borer on Ash trees… See more about tree diseases on the Tennessee Agricultural site. Trees have a life span; plant trees now before the old growth die. It takes 10 to 15 years for a tree to provide a sizeable canopy.

How do trees behave in the wild?

Do trees communicate? Do they care for one another? German forester Peter Wohlleben (‘The Hidden Life of Trees’) and scientist Suzanne Simard (The University of British Columbia, Canada) have been observing and investigating the communication between trees over decades. And their findings are most astounding on Intelligent Trees.

Tree Talk

Locally, Nashville Metro Tree Advisory Committee is a valuable source of information about trees. You’ll find topics such as weed wrangle, tree names, tree inventory, pruning, history etc. Tree Talk

Trees natural threats

We have all seen or been aware of some nature’s threat to trees such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, insect pest infestations or diseases.

Human activity

To put it in prospective globally forest losses are attributed equally to the production of commodities, forestry, wildfire, and agriculture shifting. Only 1% is attributed to urbanization. If motivated to be pro-active in watching over protected forest, real time satellite monitoring of forests is available today www.globalforestwatch.org

This is a bigger topic than my intended post, “why do trees die in middle Tennessee?” As my friends at Tennessee Environmental Council say, “be the solution”, plant trees.

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