If you’ve been to Paris, you’ve probably noticed the protective cast iron grates that encircle the trees on sidewalks. We’ve always admired the pretty architectural style of such a utilitarian object. In fact, we love the look so much, we decided to come up with our own version to enjoy at home.
Of course, we’re not so shallow that it’s strictly all about the looks. The purpose of a tree grate is to protect the tree roots and base while allowing water and air through. It’s especially great for young, delicate trees, since it prevents lawn mowers from getting too close. And without grass growing directly above it, the root ball has less competition for water, thus allowing the tree to thrive.
While not cast iron like those in Paris, our Highgate Rubber Tree Guard is virtually indestructible while being much lighter and more flexible. The guard can be cut along the outer circle to fit smaller trees or cut along the two inner circles to accommodate large trees up to 32” in diameter at the base.
Eager to try it out around his young river birch, the president of Ballard Designs, Ryan McKelvey, installed the tree guard in his yard and shared his step-by-step photos with us. He assured us it’s easy as pie to install: “It didn’t take me longer than 30 minutes to an hour to complete. It’s an easy weekend project, for sure.”
Here are Ryan’s step-by-step directions:
Size the tree guard to your tree by either cutting along the outer circle to fit a smaller tree or inside for a larger tree.
Cut a piece of weed cloth to fit the diameter of the guard. Create a side slit by cutting through to the center, then cut an “X” to fit the base of the tree. (You can cut away the flaps once the cloth is in place.)
Using a trimmer, edge around the diameter of the guard and cut the grass as short as possible around the tree.
Place the weed cloth around the tree, fuzzy side down, if it has one.
Cover the weed cloth with about 2 to 3 inches of mulch or pebbles for a more attractive look and to protect the fabric from the sun, which can damage it over time.
Place the tree guard on top. A side slit makes it easy to place and remove.
So what did Ryan think about the results? “ It looks really nice in the yard and it’s easier to mow around the tree now because of the much larger diameter. I also don’t have to worry about weed eating and damaging the trunk of the tree.”
So there you have it. Thanks, Ryan! We think it looks great, too. And now we’re suddenly making plans for our own weekend project in the yard.
Try the Highgate Tree Guard in your yard and share your success story with us.