The Supersonic Air Knife opens a new world of tree care possibilities. For the first time we can work with the underground portion of the tree – where 90% of health problems originate.
After excavating over 10,000 root collars, we have found that 99% of transplanted trees require corrective work. We see many girdling roots in trees that have been over-mulched or planted too deeply. This is especially true of container-grown trees. The Air Knife makes it easy to find these problem roots so they can be quickly corrected. In addition to girdling roots, our excavations have shown trees planted without removing synthetic burlap, synthetic twine or wire baskets. All are stressful to the tree by limiting root growth or girdling the growing trunk.
We can also diagnose: problems with diseases such as Ganoderma; trees planted too deeply; and those with under-sized root balls or skewed root systems. Clients are amazed to see what is happening to the root system of their trees and arborists are increasing their knowledge base at the same time. It is a whole new option you can offer your clients. Recent research shows that more than 80% of professional landscape companies either plant trees too deeply or get them from the nursery too deep and plant them with their roots deeper than they should be.
Soil compaction is the most common problem for trees in urban areas according to Thomas Smiley PhD, a noted researcher for Bartlett Tree Research Lab. Compacted soils have lost macropore spaces that normally hold air and water. This hinders root respiration. Severe soil compaction can suffocate a tree. Compaction problems occur either by planting in compacted soil sites or compacting soil over mature tree root zones during construction.
Until now, the most effective treatments for compaction have been vertical mulching and radial trenching. This work has traditionally been done with spades, augers, trenchers and backhoes. Since the Air Knife doesn’t damage roots, you can now double or triple the treated area without causing undue stress to the tree. Radial trenching to improve root growth is any easy service to market when you can simply blow the soil away and replace it with improved soil. In addition, vertical mulching with an Air Knife can be four times faster than with a gas-powered auger with a lot less effort. We can now air-till the soil throughout the entire root zone using the Air Knife.
Working with Utilities
The Air Knife makes working with underground utilities much safer for workers and trees. Use it to locate gas and power lines before digging. It can dig a utility line tunnel under a sidewalk as easily as under tree roots. (You should still call 811 to locate underground utilities, but we use the Air Knife regularly to find the depth of these utilities as well as locate irrigation and communication lines which may be unmarked.) Installing underground lighting for trees has become increasingly popular and this tool can help make a tough job a breeze. The same is true of laying irrigation systems. You customers will be pleased by the efficient and tidy Air Knife process and amazed to see how large an area the tree’s root system covers. Costs for renting an air compressor are substantially less than renting trenchers and backhoes and there is much less damage to the root system.