Just like any living thing, sometimes trees get sick. The average tree has the potential to live a long, healthy life. However, environmental stresses, adverse weather conditions, insects, disease and other facts can cause trees to become unhealthy. Once a tree becomes sick, it can die if action is not taken.
Trees are an important part of our natural habitat. A tree can add property value to your home, serve as protection from the wind, and help shield your home from the blazing sun. As such, it is well worth the time and effort to try to save a sick tree. If you want to prevent a sick tree from dying, here are five easy steps you can take.
Identify the Problem
Before you can effectively figure out how to save a dying tree, it is important to try to determine the problem. There are certain signals you should look for when trying to determine if a tree is in danger of dying. A lack of leaves, signs of dry, brittle or weak wood, cracks on the trunk, or areas of decay can be trouble signs.
Determining the exact cause of the problem can often be difficult. Consulting with an arborist is the best first step to take. An arborist has the training and knowledge required to diagnose and successfully treat tree problems. He or she can tell you the type of tree you have, in addition to any particular diseases or insects it might be susceptible to. By contacting an arborist as soon as you notice the tree is not looking good, you have a good chance of saving it.
Correct Watering Issues
Moisture issues are commonly at fault when it comes to a sick tree. Although this is particularly true with younger trees, even mature trees can be adversely affected by too much or too little water.
Make sure the area where the tree is planted has good drainage. If water-logging is present, provide better drainage. Under-watering a tree can also be detrimental to its health, especially in the case of a young tree. If the weather is dry and you do not have time to water the tree, set up an automated system with watering timers for gardening.
Be Careful with 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 you have a thick layer of mulch piled around the tree’s trunk, pull it back and thin it out so the roots are able to breathe. This will prevent rot, insects, bacteria, fungi and a host of other problems.
Use Fertilizer Properly
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 your trees. If you prefer to make your own organic fertilizer, ensure that you are not using any diseased plant materials as an ingredient. Before jumping to the conclusion that a sick or dying tree needs fertilizer, test the soil to make sure you are correcting the proper problem. When in doubt, consult with an arborist.
If you want to learn how to save a dying tree, it can be helpful to research 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. You should also sterilize any shears, knives or saws used to cut away diseased branches.
Different tree varieties require different pruning methods. If you are not sure how to prune your tree, consult a professional. Pruning a tree too severely or not pruning it enough can be detrimental to its health.
Sam Moser is a freelance content writer who has written almost exclusively for the web since graduating from the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. He makes sure to get the help of an emergency tree removal service whenever he needs one.