How do I become mindful of arboriculture? Well, the concept is simple to understand, maybe not so simple to attain. Become aware of what we are doing to our trees. If you look at all the tree problems we have today, you see that 90% or more, are CAUSED BY US. Yet the first thing we think about when we have a sick tree, is “what can I do to the tree?” Instead of changing what we do to trees, we try to change the tree!!!
One of the biggest things we do to trees is soil compaction. 40% of all tree diseases are the result of the tree sucumbing to the infecting pathogen because of a weakened imune system due to soil compaction. Soil compaction is the result of driving vehicles like cars, construction equipment, lawn tractors. or even foot traffic. Yet what do we do about this? We treat the disease, and that’s it. So the net year, the tree is reinfected, and the year after that, and the year after that, ad infinitum. All we do is treat the disease. This is called reactionary tree care, and is often practiced by the unmindful arborist. If we become mindful of our role in the true cause of the disease, we would see another possibility, stop compacting the soil, as well as treat the infection. This is proactive tree care, and if the tree has not already become permantly damaged by the infecting pathogen, has a good chance of actually being cured and not suffering recuring bouts of infection.
I believe that being a mindful arborist is practicing proactive tree care, and I know that is what my customers want. The next entry will explain more about soil compaction and other things we may unconsciously do to our trees.