What Are Water Sprouts & Are They Harmful to Trees?

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What Are Water Sprouts & Are They Harmful to Trees

Regardless of whether you have a green thumb or know very little about landscaping, Vernon Imel Tree Service is here to help your trees flourish. We know that you spend your time, energy, and money planting trees in your yard. We want that effort and expense to pay off. That’s why we’re committed to helping you grow trees that are strong, healthy, and long-lasting.

At Vernon Imel, one of the more common questions we’re asked has to do with water sprouts; what they are and whether they’re harmful. You may already have water sprouts forming on your trees, simply be concerned about the possibility of them, or perhaps, be unsure of what they even are. Regardless of your situation, we’ve got some useful information and tips for you. We’ve been serving the Northwest Coast for over 20 years. Now it’s time for us to share some of what we’ve learned.

Let’s begin by explaining more about water sprouts and how they form. Water sprouts are shoots of a tree. They form a cluster of what appear to be long, skinny branches or twigs, which grow out of the tree’s trunk or from the branches themselves. They’re formed by dormant buds on the tree’s trunk or branches and are most commonly found on fruit trees and some landscape trees.

Not only are water sprouts unsightly, but they can also compromise the health or quality of your tree and should be removed immediately. But in addition to removing water sprouts, you’ll also want to get to the root cause. While dormant bud tissue directly causes water sprouts to grow, there are a number of larger issues that may need to be addressed as well. For instance, environmental causes such as drought, over-pruning, root loss or damage, topping, disease, and a number of other factors could be causing water sprouts to form on your tree. It’s a good idea then to call your local arborist to inspect the tree and get at the real root cause, so to speak, of the issue.

Why are water sprouts so problematic for trees? Well, there are quite a few reasons. The main one is that water sprouts and suckers (shoots that grow from the rootstock) literally suck the life out of your tree. Water sprouts are weak, meaning they’re more susceptible to insects and diseases. Also, the unwanted growth could be keeping sunlight and fresh air from reaching into the canopy of your tree. Water sprout removal, therefore, will help improve the overall health of your tree.

So what should you do if you find that you have unsightly water sprouts growing on your beloved tree? First, preventative maintenance is key. Pruning your tree when it is young will often eliminate the potential for water sprouts to grow. As the tree matures, take care not to over-prune since that is another cause of water sprout growth.

Also, remember that enlisting the help of a professional is often useful in caring for your landscaping. Our expert arborists are skilled in light pruning for young trees and delicate clipping for more mature ones. You can liken tree pruning to an art. Just as an artist shapes a sculpture or carefully crafts a work of art, our expert arborists will also take great care in shaping your tree to perfection. Not only will the end result be an aesthetic masterpiece, but it will also optimize the health and growth of your tree.

Preventative care and maintenance is also an important factor in protecting trees against storm damage. Since storm damage is another cause of water sprouts, you’ll want to make sure you address any potential danger to your tree right away. For instance, there are certain things arborists can do to stabilize your tree for storm season, such as cabling or bracing. The installation of cables or bracing rods can protect the structural integrity of your tree, making it less prone to damage. A certified arborist will help you assess whether these measures would be beneficial for you.

But before things even progress to that point, one of the best things you can do for your tree in terms of preventative care is relatively quick and easy. You should inspect your tree on a regular basis to see if you notice any damage, decay, or unusual growths. Spotting any potential problems before they arise is one of the best things you can do to care for your tree.

In addition to regularly inspecting your tree, you should also have it examined by a certified arborist. You may find that your tree requires other professional services from time to time, such as tree shaping. Since improper thinning is another cause of water sprouts, you’ll want to make sure tree shaping and thinning services are done by only experienced arborists. This will decrease the risk of water sprouts forming and keep your tree in good shape, both literally and figuratively.

While water sprouts are an unsightly sight to see emerging from your tree, they are also preventable. Water sprouts are typically caused by environmental damage or improper care. Both can be avoided if you take the proper steps to care for and maintain your tree over time.

By enlisting the help of a skilled arborist like us at Vernon Imel, you’ll protect the health of your tree and save yourself the time and expense of costly emergency tree services.

Your trees should enhance the beauty of your yard, not detract from it. So if you notice those pesky water sprouts beginning to form, contact us right away. There’s no tree problem too big or small for us to solve! We’ll make sure to take care of those unwanted growths so that your tree can continue to grow big and strong.