Garden Tools Can Be a Tree’s Worst Enemy!
Probably the worst enemies of young trees are the lawn mower and the weed trimmer! That’s because the bark of young trees is still very thin and therefore fragile. Bumping against the bark, especially repeatedly, with heavy machinery often causes injuries that heal poorly and can cause long-term problems, sometimes even leading to the loss of the tree a decade later or more.
Note that these injuries are not always external and therefore visible immediately. Just as a person can have an effusion of blood under the skin which becomes a bruise, the injury to the tree following a blow is often under the bark. It is only later (sometimes years later) when the bark swells or detaches from the trunk or when fungi form that the gardener realizes there was even a problem.
Fortunately this is easy to prevent. For one thing, you can place a barrier, often called a tree trunk protector, around the trunk of any young tree planted in a lawn. Several types are available in garden centers, but a simple piece of drainage pipe, slit along one side, will work fine.
Better yet, however, simply surround the young tree with of a circle of mulch or grow a ground cover or a flower bed at its base. That way neither the mower or trimmer will ever have to get near the trunk !