Let the Flare See the Air!

We need YOU to help us save trees!

Thousands of trees are planted each year. Planting a tree is one thing, but successfully growing a tree is another. At the district, we make sure the trees we plant are planted correctly and have a plan to grow so they can succeed.

Often, trees are planted too low where the critical root flare is buried and/or soil and mulch is piled around the base of the tree.

What is a root flare and why is it important?

The root flare is the area of the tree where the trunk meet the roots and the supporting roots emerge. It is a critical part of the tree that needs to be visible for oxygen exchange. A covered root flare weakens the trunk of the tree, encourages girdling (choking) roots to grow around the trunk, and leaves the trunk wet so it is vulnerable to infections and diseases.

What happened?

We wish we knew! It wasn't always this way. Over the last 5-10 years the mulch volcano has emerged onto our landscape. There is no reason for these mulch volcanos and frankly, they must be stopped. Trees provide myriad benefits and if they are treated like this, their life is cut short and they aren't able to provide the benefits we desperately need. It is a waste of time, resources and money. In 10 years or less, many if not all of these trees will need replaced.

In 2019, we held a "Tree Care and Root Flare Repair" workshop. Sixty people attended and asked us "What are you going to do?" about this problem. We are a small staff and are doing our best but we need YOU to help us!

What can you do to help:

We need you to identify locations where trees are planted incorrectly. When you are out and about and see these issues, make a note of the address (or cross streets), property information, and photos if you can. Fill out the form below and send in your photos.

Please do not contact them about this issue. It can be a sensitive subject as some see this as "how its always been done." Any information you send us will be kept at the district and we will not list or showcase any properties without their permission. Your name will be kept confidential as well.

You will be a member of our Root Flare Army, assisting hundreds of trees that need our help!

What will we do:

We will contact the property owners to bring this issue to their attention with the intent of assisting them to correct the situation and not make these choices in the future.

How do you get started:

  • Watch the introductory video here.
  • Fill out the form with all the information you observed.
  • Send in any photos to Amy Roskilly at aroskilly@cuyahogaswcd.org

Thank you for your participation. We appreciate your help and so do the trees!

Additional Resources:


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