We value our mature trees for the beauty and protection they provide to our outdoor living spaces. Between our last harsh Naperville winter, the prior drought, and the onslaught of the Emerald Ash Borer, we’ve unfortunately seen the need for many beautiful, mature trees to be replaced. When a tree needs to be replaced, it’s natural to want to replace it with a new one in the same location. It may be surprising to learn, however, that a new tree should not be planted at the exact same spot.
Tree root systems reach out to cover a wide area underground. The root system is generally as wide and deep as the branches are wide and high. Planting a new tree over the old root system can crowd the new tree’s roots, leaving it unable to grow properly. It can take three years or more for old tree roots to decompose. Even when an effort is made to remove the stump and old roots, a large amount is left behind, both below and on the surface of the soil. This material temporarily robs nitrogen from the surrounding soil, which can inhibit the new tree’s growth. The University of Illinois Extension Service warns that limited mineral soil exposure, coupled with the inadequate rooting depth, will make initial tree growth difficult.
In most cases, new trees should be planted three feet or more from the former tree, depending on the breadth of the roots. This will insure enough room, good drainage and proper nutrition for the new tree to thrive. Keep this in mind when planning to replace a mature tree.
Planting or replacing trees in the fall is a great idea. O’Donovan and Son Landscaping has a large selection of mature trees that will provide many years of beauty to your home landscape. Also, prepping your landscape for winter will help it to thrive next summer. We can install a protective layer of mulch around new and existing trees and get your landscape prepared for the winter months. Call us at 630-355-3370 for information on making your landscape complete.