Despite your vigilance, the tell-tale signs are there: your tree is filled with dead limbs, hasn’t developed buds despite the fact that it’s late spring and looks a bit, well, dead. Before you call your local landscaper to tear down the tree, put down the phone and take a closer look. Is your tree really dead?
Perform this quick test to determine if your tree is dead or just sick: snap off a small tree branch. How difficult was it to break the branch? Did the limb snap right off, or did you have to put effort into it? Is the inside of the limb dry as dust, or is there still some moisture? Moisture means life – so if you’ve determined that your tree isn’t dead, it’s likely to be diseased. Get ready to put on your punching gloves, because here’s how to fight back against tree disease:
Stop All Extra Maintenance. While this may seem contrary to your natural instincts, fertilizing and mulching a diseased tree is highly ineffective, and can even be dangerous. Most tree diseases can be fought against naturally, so give the roots of your tree room to breathe by refraining from fertilizing and mulching. After all, the point is to let your tree heal – not overwhelm it by encouraging extraordinary growth!
On The Other Hand… When you have a diseased tree on your hands, you will need to give it a little extra TLC than usual. Water your tree as often as possible, as a diseased tree will have more difficulty retaining moisture than a healthy tree. Additionally, don’t mow around a diseased tree, as you’ll put the tree at risk for wounds inflicted by the blades; hand clippers will work equally as well here.
Don’t Over prune. Diseased trees will have plenty of dead limbs; however, don’t get carried away with your pole pruner, as this will only exacerbate a bad thing. Prune any major dead limbs, but don’t cut more than ¼ of the tree’s limbs.
Call In The Professionals. Most trees can fight disease on their own with little assistance from you; however, there’s one disease that needs the help of a professional to beat: Dutch Elm Disease. If you suspect that your tree has been inflicted with Dutch Elm, call a landscaper or arborist right away, as this serious disease can wipe out a whole forest in a matter of months.
Spray for bugs – along with removing dead limbs, its critical that there isn’t infestation in the tree. Make sure the tree is treated for ANY infestation, because infestation will result in death if left untreated.
Tree trimming and pruning – Its important that you remove dead limbs, however you don’t want to scalp the tree. If you have doubt as to your ability to trim it up nicely call in your local tree trimmer for help, the costs are insignificant when compared to the immediate and lasting results.
When it comes to tree disease, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If following these expert tips hasn’t helped, don’t hesitate to call upon a professional to help you out – the health of your tree will thank you for it!