Ten myths about trees

Ten Myths About Trees

Ten Myths About Trees

I’ve heard my fair share of myths and misconceptions about trees. In this article, I’ll explore some of the most common myths about trees.

Myth #1: Trees stop growing after reaching a certain height.

It’s a common misconception that trees stop growing once they reach a certain height. While it’s true that a tree’s growth rate may slow down as it ages, trees can continue to grow taller and wider throughout their entire lifespan. In fact, some species of trees can grow up to several feet per year, even when they are several hundred years old. Additionally, trees are also capable of producing new branches, leaves, and roots, allowing them to adapt and respond to changes in their environment.

Myth #2: If you want to grow a healthy tree, you need to stake it.

Staking is a common practice among gardeners and landscapers, but many people believe that it’s necessary to grow a healthy tree. However, staking can actually do more harm than good. Trees need to move and sway in the wind to develop strong trunks and roots. When a tree is staked, it can become reliant on the support and never develop the strength it needs to stand on its own. Only trees that are severely damaged or unstable should be staked.

Myth #3: If you want to prevent a tree from growing too tall, you should top it.

Topping is a pruning technique that involves cutting off the top of a tree’s main stem or branches. Many people believe that topping is an effective way to prevent a tree from growing too tall, but it’s actually one of the worst things you can do for a tree’s health. Topping can cause the tree to develop weak, unstable growth, making it more susceptible to disease and pests. It can also lead to a rapid increase in growth, resulting in a taller tree than before.

Myth #4: If you want to help a tree heal after pruning, you should apply wound dressing.

Tree wound dressings are products that are applied to a tree’s wounds after pruning or damage. They’re marketed as a way to promote healing and prevent decay, but in reality, they can do more harm than good. Research has shown that tree wound dressings don’t actually help a tree heal, and in some cases, they can even trap moisture against the bark, leading to decay and disease. The best thing you can do for a pruned tree is to leave the wound exposed to the air and let it heal naturally.

Myth #5: If you want to kill a tree, just pour salt around the base.

This is a common myth, but it’s not entirely accurate. While it’s true that salt can damage a tree’s roots and eventually kill it, pouring salt around the base is not an effective way to get rid of a tree. In fact, the salt can harm other plants and even contaminate the soil. If you want to remove a tree, it’s best to hire a professional arborist who can safely and effectively remove it.

Myth #6: If you want to grow a healthy tree, you should add fertilizer to the soil.

While trees do need nutrients to grow, adding fertilizer to the soil isn’t always necessary. In fact, too much fertilizer can harm a tree’s roots and lead to excessive growth. The best way to ensure that a tree is getting the nutrients it needs is to plant it in healthy soil and provide it with adequate water. If you’re unsure whether your tree needs fertilizer, consult with a professional arborist who can assess the tree’s condition and provide guidance on proper care.

Myth #7: If a tree is planted too deeply, it will eventually grow roots to the surface.

Planting a tree too deeply can have serious consequences for its health and survival. When a tree is planted too deep, its roots may not be able to get enough oxygen, leading to root rot and other issues. Additionally, a tree planted too deep may not be stable in the soil, leading to leaning or other structural problems.

Contrary to popular belief, a tree will not simply grow roots to the surface if it is planted too deep. In fact, the opposite may occur – the tree may develop a shallow root system that is more vulnerable to drought and other stresses.

To ensure that a tree is planted at the correct depth, the top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding soil. The tree should be planted in a hole that is wide enough to accommodate the root ball, and the soil should be backfilled and gently tamped to avoid air pockets.

Myth #8: Pruning a tree will make it grow faster and stronger.

While pruning can be beneficial for a tree’s health, it won’t necessarily make it grow faster or stronger. In fact, excessive pruning can weaken a tree by removing too much of its foliage and reducing its ability to produce energy through photosynthesis.

Pruning should only be done as needed to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches, or to shape the tree for aesthetic or safety reasons. When pruning, it’s important to make clean cuts and avoid damaging the tree’s bark or branches.

Myth #9: Trees don’t need water in the winter.

While it’s true that trees don’t need as much water in the winter as they do in the summer, they still require some moisture to survive. In areas with dry winters or periods of drought, it’s important to water trees regularly to ensure their survival.

When watering trees in the winter, it’s important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. It’s also important to water during periods of mild weather, when the water is more likely to be absorbed by the soil and roots.

Myth #10: Putting nails or spikes in a tree will help it grow.

This is perhaps one of the most bizarre myths about trees out there. Some people believe that putting nails or spikes in a tree will help it grow by providing it with extra nutrients or oxygen. However, this is simply not true.

In fact, driving nails or spikes into a tree can cause serious damage to its bark and cambium layer, which can lead to rot and other issues. Additionally, the practice is often illegal and can result in fines or other penalties.

Interesting Facts About Trees
  1. The tallest tree in the world is a coast redwood named Hyperion, which stands at 115.61 meters (379.7 feet) tall.
  2. Trees produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and a single mature tree can produce enough oxygen to support two human beings.
  3. Trees communicate with each other through a network of underground fungi known as mycorrhizae.
  4. The oldest known tree in the world is a bristlecone pine named Methuselah, which is over 4,800 years old.
  5. The rings of a tree’s trunk can reveal a lot about its history, including its age, growth rate, and the environmental conditions it has experienced.
  6. Some tree species, such as the baobab tree, can store large amounts of water in their trunks to survive long periods of drought.

The world’s largest living organism is a forest of aspen trees in Utah, known as Pando, which covers over 100 acres and is estimated to weigh around 6,000 tons.

Trees play a vital role in our environment and are essential to the health of our planet. They provide shade, produce oxygen, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Trees also provide habitat and food for a wide variety of wildlife, and they can improve soil quality and prevent erosion.

It’s important to understand the truth behind common myths about trees, as believing in these myths can harm the health of trees and the environment as a whole. By learning the facts about trees and their care, we can ensure that these magnificent plants continue to thrive for generations to come.

Links for Further Reading:

From the TreeFuture collection

Read about some other topics here:

Back to the TreeFuture main page

 

Scroll to Top