A Tool of the Trade – Arborist Use of TGRs
Growth regulators are a tool widely used by arborists and other tree health professionals to benefit trees in several ways. In fact, if you were to call in a ‘tree doctor’ for help with a declining shade tree in your yard, they may prescribe the same treatment the utility is using to keep trees from power lines.
The tree growth regulator will reduce the size of the plant’s cells, but it does not change the amount of energy the tree produces through photosynthesis. As the treated plant is not utilizing that energy for vegetative growth, it can reallocate that energy to other resources.
Arborists and other plant healthcare professionals can take advantage of this to help trees in many different urban tree stress situations.
Most Common Arborist Uses of TGRs
A tree treated with a TGR puts more energy into root production than shoot production. In addition to slowing canopy growth, it can be more responsive to many urban tree stress conditions.
Control Tree Growth Near Structures
The mature size isn’t always considered when a tree is planted near a building or other structure. Using a growth regulator may improve the life expectancy of a tree near any structure.
Improve Damaged Root Systems from Construction
Arborists will often use TGRs on trees that will be enduring root damage during an upcoming construction project as a means of pre-stress conditioning. They can also be utilized after root loss or damage has occurred from construction to encourage the tree to form new roots.
Increase Drought Tolerance of Urban Trees
Trees planted in an urban setting without enough surrounding soil often are drought-stressed. TGR use helps increase a tree’s fibrous roots so the tree can absorb more water. While nothing will help a tree through times of drought better than water, growth regulators represent one of a small number of tools arborists have to help trees thrive when it’s dry.
Trees have even been brought back from the brink of inevitable demise through the use of these treatments.
Maintaining the Size of Mature Trees
Urban trees often outgrow their sites and at a certain point the continued growth becomes a detriment. Arborists utilize TGRs to slow the growth of the trees to increase their longevity in the landscape.