“Your Turf Installation Will Survive for Years to Come, But Will the Trees, Plants, and Shrubs Within Your Installation?”
A basic understanding of a root system’s structure is critical. Trees, plants and shrubs depend on a consistent supply of water, oxygen, and nutrients for survival.
This month I will explain why encapsulating trees, plants and shrubs with synthetic turf will not only put the vegetation in a health risk, but the repairs and replacement can also be costly.
Contractors must understand the liabilities of all surrounding areas within their installation, in addition to the synthetic turf area. Installing synthetic turf against the base (crown/flair) of trees, plants and bushes without regard for the surrounding vegetation will only create unhappy customers.
TERMS TO REMEMBER
Tree– A perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species.
Shrubs– A shrub is a small to medium-sized woody plant.
Plants – Any of various photosynthetic, eukaryotic, multi-cellular organisms characteristically containing chloroplasts, having cell walls made of cellulose, producing embryos, and lacking the power of locomotion. Plants include trees, bushes, herbs, ferns, mosses, and certain green algae.
Tree (Circle) Well– The primary purpose of a diameter(circle)constructed well is to retain moisture for re growth and to prevent the tree from certain causes of death due to the raising and lowering of elevation of soils surrounding the tree.
Encapsulating– To surround or close off on all sides
Crown/Flair– The root flare area (also called the crown or root collar) is that area where the main stem tissue transitions to root tissue.
Roots– The roots of a tree serve to anchor it to the ground and gather water and nutrients to transfer to all parts of the tree. They are also used for reproduction, defense, survival, energy storage and many other purposes
Canopy – Is the aboveground portion and collection of individual plant crowns.
Mulch – Is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. Its purpose is to conserve moisture, to improve the fertility and health of the soil, to reduce weed growth, to enhance the visual appeal of the area.
When natural grass is removed and replaced with synthetic turf, trees, plants and bushes can fall within the “Synthetic Turf Zone.” This vegetation either is receiving water from its own irrigation system or feeding off the natural grass irrigation system. My recommendations are as follows:
1. I strongly recommend to cap all irrigation lines at the valves that connect to the existing natural grass irrigation. DO NOT USE SPRINKLER CAPS! Sprinkler caps only cover the heads of the natural grass sprinklers. If the irrigation valve is not capped, there is a chance that nails, spikes or staples may puncture the underlying irrigation lines which may be buried unseen to the naked eye. I have experienced contractors getting call backs three years later from the client stating there are leaks throughout the synthetic turf zone. Don’t take this chance!
2. If there are trees, plants or bushes within the synthetic turf zone that were receiving water from the natural grass sprinklers, I recommend drawing out a new irrigation plan and installing new irrigation pipes or drip tubing. This will ensure that all workmen understand where the new irrigation lines are placed as well as prevent any irrigation damage caused by nails, spikes and staples that water the trees, plants and shrubs.
The drawing will also provide the contractor and homeowner future reference of the new irrigation’s location. These simple steps will allow for easy future repairs.
3. Synthetic Grass Warehouse Polyboard is a quick and great solution to create tree wells. When the natural grass is removed and irrigation is completed, prior to the placement of sub base materials, measure the SGW Polyboard at an even radius around the base of the tree. Excavate and bury the SGW Polyboard to proper elevation to complete a tree well. On larger trees, the well must extend to the “canopy”–also called the “drip edge,” which is where the feeder roots gain the most nutrients. The well must be made of good soil that will compact and allow the well to hold water without it breaking its circle.
Please note; if the constructed well is not installed with SGW Polyboard or SGW Wonder Edge, integrity of sub grade soils will erode and will allow the exterior nails, spikes or staples to come loose and the “circle well” will fail.
4. If SGW Polyboard or SGW Wonder Edge is not used, then a “berm” can be constructed to create a “circle well.” Build up the soil higher than the existing turf elevation to keep water and nutrients from running away from the trees, plants or shrubs.
Place the synthetic turf into the well approximately 8 inches. Use a tape measure and chalk and mark an even circle around the well. Trim excess turf off.
Use a claw hammer and excavate the interior of the well approximately 3 inches deep at the perimeter of the synthetic turf edge. Curl and tuck the synthetic turf into the soil with nails, spikes or staples to secure the edge.