How To Protect Your Plants From Lawn Maintenance Equipment Damage
Damage from lawn mowers and weed trimmers can cause irreparable harm to your landscape plants. It is ultimately your job to protect your precious plants from possible mechanical damage from lawn maintenance equipment.
The Damage That Lawn Care Equipment Can Do
Mowing too close to trees can cause the mower deck to hit the trunk and remove bark. Mowing too low over exposed roots leaves broken bark and can sometimes cut into the root. Weed trimmers can literally girdle trees with thin bark, such as cherries or young maples, which makes it impossible for them to receive water and nutrients from the sun or soil. It may take time, but the tree will eventually die. Any injury to a plant's bark or roots is an entry point for disease and insect damage.
Let Your Expectations Be Known
Before hiring a yard crew, explain clearly, preferably in writing, exactly what is expected of them. It's perfectly reasonable to request that they use guards on their weed trimmers to protect the trees and shrubs from bark damage, or not to mow over exposed tree roots. Be sure the crew lead knows that you are making it his responsibility to keep new workers apprised of your requirements. A reputable company will be happy to work with you to see that you are a customer for life.
Even if you have a trustworthy, reputable lawn maintenance company, people make mistakes. Your best move is to use barriers, such as edging and tree rings, to ensure that your valuable plants are not damaged by lawn care equipment. Low fencing for flower beds and vegetable gardens is a clear sign that those areas are off-limits. Apply mulch in a 2 foot diameter around small, newly installed plants and trees to keep the crew from having to use a weed trimmer near their fragile trunks.
Remove Weeds Around Fruit Trees
Most fruit trees grow best when their roots don't have to compete with weeds for nutrients. Whether you hand-weed or use a chemical weed killer, removing weeds from the trunk out to the drip line not only protects the trunk from mechanical damage, but helps your tree thrive. Since most fruit trees have thin, easily damaged bark, an additional small, metal fence or plastic trunk guard around the tree trunk itself takes protection a step further.
Working closely with a professional lawn maintenance company, like Green Leaf Lawn Services, is important, but humans are fallible, so it's not a guarantee that your valuable plants will not sustain damage. To ensure the safety and care of your landscape plants, take it upon yourself to erect barriers for protection around sensitive plants and garden areas.