i took these pictures this afternoon on 1st street in front of mt. bethel baptist church. take a look at that first tree. was it just recently planted? it looks ready to fall over! but the big thing that caught my eye was the fact that all three of these trees have what they call "volcanoes" at casey trees. usually, they're mulch volcanoes, when an overzealous planter puts WAY too much mulch at the base of a newly planted tree, and they stack it up the tree's stem.
in this instance, it's not mulch, it's just soil. but, putting anything up the side of the tree like that will kill it. trees need to breathe at the point where the roots meet the trunk (i believe it's called the "root flange"). air transfer happens there, and if it's covered with dirt or mulch, that can't happen.
in addition, moisture can build up there and rot the trunk. that's a quick recipe for a dead tree.
did the city or the church plant these? i'd like to give advice, and would even help to replant, but i don't have a shovel, and i'm not about to disturb trees without getting permission first.
(postscript: i just noticed that i got that white panel truck in the second photo. i'll write a full post about it at a later date, but suffice it to say that there are people living in that truck. strikes me as a little odd.)