3 Reasons Why Your Tree Needs Aeration

RTEC technician performing soil aeration in a tree's critical root zone.

RTEC technician performing soil aeration in a tree’s critical root zone.

Aeration, or more commonly known as soil de-compaction via a High Velocity Air Tool, is one of the most important treatments for a healthy tree.  According to a recent Arborist survey, soil compaction is a serious issue on approximately 50% of residential properties across the DC Metro Area and contributes to 80% of urban tree decline. Don’t let your tree become a soil compaction statistic; read on to find out the 3 major reasons your tree needs Aeration to maintain its health.

1) Your Soil Has Poor Nutrients: In our urban/suburban area the soil around tree roots tends to be compacted. This means there is no room from other plants and micro-organisms to grown within it and provide nutrients to the tree.

How Aeration Can Help:  Aeration gives room for micro-organisms to develop and the soil to correct back to its natural nutrient dense state. If lack of nutrients is extreme the Arborist may even recommend you go one step further with Vertical Mulching.

2) Your Soil Is Experiencing Drought: Typically most homeowners don’t worry about drought unless there is a lack of rain; however, when soil compaction is present your tree can experience drought during normal weather conditions. In compaction cases the soil is too hard and dry to let rain past the first layer of soil. This means very little amounts of water make it to the tree’s root system.

How Aeration Can Help: Because aeration breaks up the soil there is no longer a hard top layer to stop water from penetrating the soil. The increase in pore space referenced in reason #1 also gives the water more room to pass through the soil and be absorbed by the tree’s roots.

Soil Aeration3) Your Soil Has A Lack Of Pore Space: Scientific studies show that a healthy soil in the natural forest environment has 50% pore space for oxygen and moisture. However, in our suburban and urban environment typical soil has only 10% pore space. This dramatic decrease is unnatural for your tree and is a major factor in tree mortality.

How Aeration Can Help:  Soil Aeration breaks up compaction allowing more pore space. This pore space helps give your tree the moisture and oxygen it needs and helps turn your landscape into a more natural environment.

Benefits Of AerationAeration not only remedies the issues discussed above but also provides numerous other benefits such as plant & root growth promotion, management of toxic chemical formation, and disease/insect control. The importance of aerating the soil in your tree cannot be stressed enough. It is vital for optimal tree/root health and should be performed regularly for best results.

If you would like to save your tree from years of decline and ultimately death, it is best to get ahead of soil compaction by having Aeration treatments performed one to two times a year.

To learn more about soil compaction and the benefits of aeration check out our other article Soil Compaction: Are You Smothering Your Tree?

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

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