A dying tree is not only aesthetically displeasing but also poses a significant risk to your property and human life. Although, like all living beings, trees are also eventually meant to die, there has been a spike in the untimely death of trees in Oregon due to the climatic conditions.
In the past few years, the summers have been unusually hot. Extended periods of hotter droughts are incredibly stressful for the trees, resulting in a gradual decline in their health, ultimately resulting in death.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to figure out if a tree is going to die. That’s why Mr. Tree has put together an easy-to-understand guide to help you understand what’s wrong with your dying tree and to give you the steps you can take to keep them in good health.
Higher temperatures increase the rate of transpiration in trees. Trees can reach a stage where it becomes impossible to absorb water fast enough to sustain their canopy. This results in stress for your trees and also causes the biological functions to slow down. Trees may find it difficult to cool their leaves down through evaporation on extremely hot days, resulting in leaf damage.
Some of the early warning signs of heat stress in trees include rust-colored bumps on the leaves, wilted leaves, leaf edges looking scorched, and leaves falling off the tree. While it may be difficult to diagnose heat stress without the help of a certified arborist, you can replace the mulch and ensure that the soil is not too dry.
Hazardous Activities by Humans
Certain activities involving humans can also result in a dying tree. For instance, if your house is located in an area that suffers from moderate to severe air pollution, your trees may suffer. Air pollution disrupts the balance of carbon dioxide in the air and prevents trees from carrying out photosynthesis effectively.
Similarly, improper use of herbicides can adversely affect transpiration in trees and can also interfere with photosynthesis. This can result in a spike in the internal temperature of the leaves, causing them to wilt and finally die.
While moisture is critical for the growth of trees, too much or too little can cause the untimely death of your tree. If you end up overwatering your trees, you make it impossible for them to breathe. The excess water enters the air pockets in the soil, cutting off the oxygen supply to the roots. Prolonged exposure to excessive water results in the roots rotting and your tree dying.
If the soil around your trees is always wet and any new growth withers off before it grows out entirely, the chances are that you have overwatered the tree. A quick fix is to stop watering your trees completely for a week. Then use a screwdriver and dig about eight inches deep in the soil. Check the soil with your fingers—if it crumbles, you can resume watering. If it’s too moist or pliable enough to roll into a ball, you can skip watering.
On the other hand, underwatering your trees can prevent them from receiving essential nutrients from the soil. Trees with curled or wilted leaves may be underwatered, especially if you live in an area prone to droughts. The best way to remedy the situation is by maintaining a watering schedule. However, take adequate precautions to prevent overwatering.
The presence of fungus on your tree is a giveaway that your tree is in poor health. Depending on the species and environmental conditions, you may notice different types of fungal growth.
Swiss needle cast is a fungal disease that is hugely prevalent in Oregon and usually affects Douglas fir trees. This disease causes yellowing of the needles and premature shedding. Dutch elm disease is another common fungal infection that attacks European and American elms. It results in the wilting and browning of leaves on a single branch within the canopy. If you have dogwood or linden trees in your backyard, verticillium wilt, a soil-dwelling fungus, can attack the leaves and kill your trees.
If you notice any abnormal growth in the bark, dark spores on the leaves, large shelf fungus on the tree, or even a coating on certain parts of your tree, it’s time to get it checked out by professional arborists. Fungal diseases are contagious—unless you nip them in the bud, they may quickly spread to other trees in the vicinity and kill them all.
As living beings, trees require proper nourishment and care to thrive. Activities such as pruning, trimming, mulching, and fertilizing the soil are crucial for ensuring healthy foliage. While many people plant trees in their yards to enhance the aesthetic value, they don’t always put enough effort into the general upkeep of their trees. In fact, many undertake these activities as DIY projects during the weekend. Unfortunately, some mistakes can cause the death of your trees.
For instance, improper pruning may remove the branch collar and cause a large wound in the tree that won’t heal. You could also leave too much of the dead branch, leading to a gradual decay of the tree’s roots and trunk. These activities are harmful to the overall health of the tree and could result in its death.
Similarly, fertilizing isn’t about loading up the soil with a lot of chemicals. If you’re keen on fertilizing, you first need to assess whether your trees need fertilization, choose the right fertilizer based on a soil quality assessment, and finally, decide on the right time to fertilize the soil. Otherwise, even the best efforts may end up causing the death of your trees.
We understand that taking proper care of your trees takes a lot of commitment. But you don’t have to struggle alone. If you suspect a tree is dying, contact Mr. Tree right away so that we can carry out a proper assessment.
In case we feel that the damage is beyond repair, you can use our tree removal services. We will uproot the tree from your yard safely. But early intervention of professional arborists can help your tree enjoy a long and healthy life. So schedule an appointment today and watch your trees not just survive but thrive.