Trees are beautiful, living things. As such, they need to be treated with great care to ensure they stay alive and thriving. Therefore, it is important to know when a tree has become diseased so that the tree can hopefully be saved. This knowledge, along with the help of a Tillamook tree service, can be the difference between keeping the gorgeous tree or having to cut it down.
Identify the Signs
Not all people can classify a dying tree from an already dead tree. The confusion starts because both look lifeless, dried up, and without any trace of green leaves. So, before you try to save a dying tree, it is important to first determine if the tree is dying or already dead.
Professionals like a Tillamook tree service company can help determine if a tree is able to be saved. The following are signs that any novice can detect:
- Poor structure – sometimes trees can lean more to one side, or have an odd shape that is caused by an unnatural growth pattern. Severe storms and poor pruning are usually to blame for this; rectify this issue soon to prevent the tree from falling!
- Decay – This one can be hard to spot, as decay usually affects the inside of the tree first. Visible symptoms include mushroom-like spores, an expanded base, dead branches, and soft, breakable wood.
- Weak unions or joints – These are also an indicator that the tree is sickly. If the tree’s branches don’t look very attached to the tree, there is a problem. This is caused by branches growing close together with bark in between. Weak branches mean they could fall at any time.
- Cracks – Cracks in a tree are tricky to diagnose because some are normal and some are not. Overall, the cracks don’t necessarily hurt the tree unless they become too deep and affect the tree’s infrastructure and branches, or if they host detrimental pests.
- Cankers – Cankers are areas of dead bark on the tree. A canker is similar to a human canker sore; both are painful sores from a disease caused by stress. A tree canker is caused by bacteria/fungi that infecst a tree through an open wound. Once it’s inside, it attacks the tree and causes it to stress, and in turn, a canker. Fortunately, these can usually be pruned off the tree.
- Deadwood – The last symptom of a sick or dying tree is deadwood. Deadwood is exactly what it sounds like; wood that is dead. The branches are usually easy to break and are dry.
Prune the Tree Properly
Saving a dying tree can of be done with some research regarding proper pruning techniques. If there are diseased areas visible on an otherwise healthy tree, properly removing the diseased sections could save the tree’s life. Be sure to destroy any diseased branches to prevent the problem from spreading. It is also important to sterilize any shears, knives, or saws used to cut away diseased branches.
Different tree varieties require different pruning methods. If there is uncertainty around how to prune the tree, consult a Tillamook tree service company like Vernon Imel. It is also important to note that pruning a tree too severely or not pruning it enough can be detrimental to its health.
Prevent Drought From Killing the Tree
Most tree roots are at a depth of between 6 feet and 24 feet and spread out an area of two to four times the diameter of the tree crown. For evergreens this usually isn’t very far. The one way to really help a drought hurt or dying tree is to root feed it. Root feeders can be found at most hardware stores or garden shops. It is a long skinny pipe with a canister at the top for fertilizer pellets and a connection for a garden hose.
To use the root feeder, attach the garden hose to it and push the needle into the ground. If the ground is really hard and compacted, turn on the water and let the water help push the root feeder easily into the ground. When root feeding, it is best to do it under the outer branches known as the drip zone at least four times.
Each root feeder package will have specific instructions on where to place the root feeder at how many places and at what depth depending on the size and type of the tree. There are several different types of fertilizer pellets depending if the tree is an evergreen or deciduous tree.
Fertilizer and Mulch
Although useful when used properly, mulch can be harmful to trees. When using mulch around the base of a tree, be sure it is not too thick. If there is a thick layer of mulch piled around the tree’s trunk, it is quite important that it be pulled back and thinned out so that the roots are able to breathe. Additionally, a perfect, thin layer will prevent rot, insects, bacteria, fungi, and a host of other problems.
Fertilizer is another yard care item that can potentially harm trees instead of helping them. When using lawn fertilizer around the yard, avoid sprinkling or spraying it too close to the trees. Some prefer to make their own organic fertilizer and, in those cases, it is critical to ensure that they are not using any diseased plant materials as an ingredient.
Before concluding that a sick or dying tree needs fertilizer, the soil must be tested to make sure the proper problem is corrected. When in doubt, consult with an arborist.
Trees are such beautiful parts of any yard, garden and community. When a tree is sick or dying, recognizing the problem is the first step in rectifying the issue and saving the tree. Once the problem is identified, most of the steps outlined here can help to keep the tree alive and thriving. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local expert. Additional information could be the difference between saving your tree and calling for its removal.