Healthy trees begin with healthy soils. Fertilisation to ensure adequate nutrition is just the start. Adjusting soil pH so it is optimum for a plant species will ensure nutrients are continually available for improved vigour, flowering, and fruit yield. Organic matter is often deficient in urban and suburban soils and this is a key component for healthy soils. Organic matter improves soil nutrient and moisture retention, provides resistance to compaction, serves as a source of essential plant nutrients and enhances soil microbial populations that are essential to healthy soils. In essence, Bartlett Tree Experts simulate the optimal physical and chemical conditions for plant growth found in nature. Indeed, our Root Invigoration process combines all the above into a single treatment to achieve this goal.

  • Soil Analysis
  • Soil Nutrients
  • Organic Soil Management
  • Root Zone Management

At Bartlett we attempt to get to the root of the problem. A tree’s external stress and decline symptoms can often be an indicator that all is not well in the soil. We start the investigative work by taking several soil samples and send them to our soils laboratory for analysis. The lab ascertains the soil texture, macro and micro nutrient status, pH, and organic matter content. We also diagnose hydrocarbon pollution, which can be a feature of neighbourhood disputes.

If we suspect that compaction is playing a role in the tree decline situation then we have the ability to assess the bulk density of the soil and amend by Root Invigoration.

Bartlett offers the most exacting soil management programme to optimise woody plant health. Before fertilisation is prescribed or performed, soil samples are taken and soil nutrient status is analysed. Bartlett Arborists submit more than 1,000 soil samples from client properties each year for routine analysis, which provides information for developing blends of fertilisers designed for specific geographic areas and sound nutrient management programmes. We offer several blends of our own BOOST fertilisers, all of which contain slow-release nitrogen that provides nutrients gradually over the entire growing season. This means that nitrogen is not lost to leaching and runoff, which in turn optimises availability, while protecting the environment. If soil phosphorus levels are adequate or treatments are applied in sensitive sites, we use phosphate-free BOOST products specifically formulated to eliminate risk from runoff and water pollution.

Bartlett also offers a unique Prescription Fertilisation process whereby nutrients and amendments can be custom-blended on site and applied to specific plants based on soil analysis results. This process is ideal for high value, feature plants and those with visible nutrient deficiencies or health concerns.

Bartlett offers a complete line of organic fertilisers and amendments for soil management. Compost and organic granular fertilisers as well as mycorrhizal inoculants can be introduced into soils via our Root Invigoration process. This is the most effective treatment for amending soils and keeping the soil food web in balance.

A decade ago, tree root zone management was not considered a service. Today, due to advancement in both soil excavation tools and technologies, Bartlett is able to provide a variety of treatments to encourage root development, as well as to prevent root encroachment and damage beneath pavements and driveways. Homeowners frequently ask about treatments to eliminate surface roots of trees especially in lawn areas. Certain species, such as sycamore, birch, and cherry are inherently shallow rooted and more prone to producing surface roots. Surface roots are more common in heavy clay soils compared to sands or loams. Frequent light irrigation can also increase the likelihood of trees developing surface roots. Once surface roots become a problem, there is little that can be done to correct the condition. Cutting the roots can impact tree health and stability and roots are likely to grow back if the tree survives.

Most trees species will tolerate covering the offending roots with eight to ten centimetres of loam soil but as the roots grow in diameter, they will again reappear on the surface. If soil is added, make sure it is not placed on the root collar and against the stem. The ideal option for dealing with surface roots is to mulch the area beneath the tree crown to avoid conflict between tree roots and grass.

Bartlett’s premier service is Root Invigoration, a process developed by scientists at the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory. Root Invigoration uses a unique process that concentrates a high volume of air on a small area of soil. This acts to loosen dense soil and allows the incorporation of composts and other necessary amendments to promote root development on trees stressed by soil compaction, root damage, or root disease.

Air-tools are also used to rapidly remove soil and mulch that have been placed against the root collar and stem tissue during planting, construction, and maintenance. The root collar, which is the area where the root system joins the stem, should remain free of soil and mulch to reduce the risk of disease and insect infestations, as well as the development of stem girdling roots.

There are several types of root barriers that are now available that will restrict development of tree root systems beneath pavements to prevent lifting. Barriers are comprised of high-density plastic or fabric that are impregnated with an herbicide to inhibit root growth.


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