Have you ever noticed a beautiful new house, but the older trees around it are looking rather sad? If not, take a closer look next time you drive by. This is a typical sign of soil compaction due to construction. Luckily, we know how to amend compacted soil: air spading.
Air spading is not only useful to loosen soils. In general, there are four benefits to air spading.
- Soil compaction relief
This is the compaction relief that we mentioned. When construction occurs, soil compaction is a result due to heavy machinery driving over the soil. However, it can be caused by items seemingly as simple as walking. Think fairs with thousands of people walking over the root zones.
With spoke excavation, we air spade “spokes” out from the trunk to loosen the soil and add in nutrient-rich biochar. This increases root respiration, increases available water and nutrients, and allows soils to drain effectively. Pore space in the soil is created, which allows fine roots to grow into the air spaded areas.
Spoke excavation is especially effective when paired with growth regulator treatment. On their own, soils will take years and years to develop pore space. Air spading can accomplish the same thing in one day.
- Root inspection
Root inspections are important when a girdling root is present. When inspecting your tree, a Certified Arborist may notice a swollen trunk. This can occur when a root is wrapped around the trunk and not allowing water and nutrients to flow. Girdling is especially common in hybrid maples.
- Root barrier installation
We often see trees that are planted too close to patios or sidewalks. The concrete begins to push up and crack.
While this is never an ideal situation, there is a way to prolong the life of your tree by protecting the paved surfaces. By air spading the length of the paved edge, we are able to take a look for any large roots that are growing underneath that area.
The large roots are pruned and a barrier is installed to prevent further interference.
A similar approach can be used for root pruning near house foundations. Again, we suggest pairing this service with a growth regulator treatment in order to slow root growth and reduce overall stress.
- Root flare excavation
Occasionally, trees are planted too deep. While a tree can’t be dug up and replanted (we wish!), it is possible to excavate the soil around the trunk to help the issue. With the help of an air spade, the risk of wounding the trunk or roots with a shovel is avoided.
Prior to air spading, grass or items (eg: mulch or rocks) on are removed to expose the soil surface. Then, high pressure air is utilized to blow the soil away to expose the roots. This process is rather meticulous, though it may not appear that way with dirt flying everywhere! Once completed, the area can be reseeded as a lawn if necessary.