When a tree becomes unhealthy it is important to get right to the root of the problem – literally. A tree’s decline in health quite often starts with its roots. The roots may not have been able to draw up enough nutrients into the tree, or the roots may have died back.
Trees have an immune system like any other living thing. In order to stay healthy and thrive, trees need to be receiving enough water and nutrients through the roots and vascular system. When the tree is not receiving enough of what it needs it becomes less able to protect itself, and an unhealthy tree becomes much more susceptible to insects, fungus, bacteria, and infection.
Common Signs That Your Tree Might Need a Tree Service Professional
Common signs of a health problem in your tree include: leaves becoming smaller and more sparse, a thinning tree canopy and dead branches on the outer edges, yellowing leaves, leaves that are browning on the edges, brittle limbs and branches, increase of dead limbs within the tree, fungus growing at the base of the tree, and an increase of insect life on the tree.
It is always best to call your local tree service professional to determine the main causes of the tree’s decline in health, but these are some things that can be done to get your tree back to looking full and healthy.
Deep Root Feeding
The vascular system of a tree draws moisture and nutrients from the roots, through the tree, and out to the outer canopy of the tree. When a tree is in decline the outer part of the tree starts to die first and then gradually declines toward the base of the tree. A tree service professional can examine your tree to determine the cause, but deep root feeding is a common solution to help bolster and strengthen a tree. It’s like giving your tree its vitamins.
Deep root feeding is a process that many arborists use to send the nutrients that your tree needs right to its roots. A tree service expert will use a deep root feeding device to inject a combination of nutrients down to the roots of your tree. This process is designed to strengthen the root system as a whole, and while you may not see an immediate change in the tree it will strengthen the vascular system of the tree over time allowing it to become more full and strong.
Precision Tree in Colorado Springs, CO, uses a fertilizer formula that is specifically designed for the trees and climate of the front range. This formula includes a component to strengthen the vascular system, a component to break up the soil to allow the ingredients to be absorbed, a beneficial fungus that encourages the roots to strengthen and elongate, and other nutrients that trees need which are not easily found naturally in the Colorado soil.
The fertilizer that is used in deep root feeding is taken up into the tree over time. The months of April, May, and June are the best times to have an arborist deep root feed your tree and give it a kick start for summer, and if not in the spring then September and October are also a good time to fertilize as the tree prepares for dormancy, but this process only needs to be done once a year. If you feel that your tree is not receiving the nutrients that it needs it is best to contact a tree service professional to assess the type and quantity of fertilizer that will be most beneficial to your tree.
A tree service professional can assess whether tree trimming will benefit your tree. Tree limbs that are dead, decaying, or diseased need to be removed in order to protect the health of the tree. When a tree has a disease or when it becomes damaged it directs its resources to the damaged part of the tree. If a damaged limb is removed, the tree seals off the stump with sap and the re-allocates its resources throughout the rest of the tree.
When a tree gets trimmed the tree service professional will trim out the damaged limbs and thin out some of the unnecessary limbs and branches. This will not only prevent any existing disease from spreading, but it will also allow the tree to re-allocate its resources to the healthy limbs. This will encourage new healthy growth and it will strengthen the overall structure of the tree. When the nutrients and water that the tree is receiving can be allocated well, the tree will begin to heal itself.
Colorado has a very dry climate, so a very common cause of a decline in tree health is simply a lack of water. A struggling tree may need supplemental watering to help it bounce back and become stronger. These are some tips for watering your tree:
- Put a hose at the base of the tree and leave it on a trickle for 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t flood the tree, but make sure that there is enough water to soak through the soil.
- Water it once a month. This is particularly important during the winter months when the air becomes dryer and the tree goes into dormancy to preserve its resources.
- Make sure that the outside temperature is at least 40 degrees. If possible, try to water at mid-day so that the water can soak before temperatures drop at night. If it is too cold when the tree is being watered there is a risk of freezing the roots of the tree.
In order to grow and heal a tree needs to be able to draw up a healthy amount of nutrients and water from its roots and through its vascular system.
While many of our trees in Colorado are hearty and well adapted to the climate, many trees still benefit from extra fertilizer that will provide the nutrients that it may not be able to get from the soil naturally. Proper tree trimming will encourage the tree to allocate those resources well.
When a tree is healthy this also helps to prevent the spread of insects or diseases that could move on to other trees in the area.
Healthy trees play a large role in the aesthetics and environmental safety of your yard. While a tree that is sick or dying can be a discouraging sight, in most cases a tree will improve over time to become healthy, full and strong again once the proper steps are taken to give it a chance to heal.