The beauty of having an evergreen tree is that, while other trees are turning brown and shriveling up during the autumn and winter months, they remain vibrant all year round.
Evergreen trees are noted for their beauty and because they remain green throughout the year, they have earned fame as a symbol of winter. But you may have noticed that your evergreen tree isn’t so green anymore; maybe it’s losing its luster and even turning brown. Not limited to the winter months, this may happen during any season of the year (and in fact, you’ll often notice it in the spring after a particularly cold winter.) If that’s the case, why is it happening? And is it possible to fix an evergreen tree that is slowly turning brown? This article will try to give you a few tips about what to do if this happens to you.
Why is the tree turning brown?
Before you can take any steps to fix the problem, you need to figure out why your tree is turning brown. Actually, there are numerous reasons why an evergreen might start turning brown. There are a number of diseases that could be the culprit; there could also be a problem due to a lack of nutrition in the soil. There’s also the possibility that the tree is not getting access to the water that it needs. This could also be due to a number of reasons.
During the winter, the soil often gets so cold that the water in the ground freezes. When it does, the tree isn’t able to access the water and the needles begin to turn brown. This is also known as leaf burn or desiccation. If you notice leaf burn on your evergreen tree, the very first step you will need to take is to diagnose the problem.
The easiest way to do that is to secure the help of a tree service. If you live in Portland or the surrounding area, contact us here at Mr. Tree. Our arborists or tree surgeons will arrive to diagnose the issue and help suggest steps you can take to correct the problem.
What to do if it’s disease
Ultimately, if your tree looks sickly or is turning brown, the cause is usually lack of access to water and nutrients. The causes of this lack of water and nutrition, however, can vary wildly.
There are a number of different tree diseases that can affect the circulatory system of your tree, plugging up the vascular system that transports water from one area to the next. Generally, these diseases will start in one small area and spread from there. Needless to say, it’s always best to arrest the spread of the disease early if you can.
Root rot is an example of an illness that evergreen trees are particularly susceptible to. In addition to brown, wilted needles, you will see what appear to be sores or cankers running along the root system of the tree, and if you remove any bark you will notice the wood beneath it becomes soft and brown. Root rot is caused by a fungus that can thrive in overly damp conditions. Fixing the tree requires digging the damp soil away from the rotting roots and allowing them to dry for a while.
Another common disease among evergreen trees is known as rust. This is another fungal disease which causes powdery fungal spores to appear on the needles; if this occurs, you will need to have the infected needles and branches pruned off. You can attempt to do this yourself, however, we recommend securing the help of a tree service, as we will be able to prune your tree in such a way that causes minimal stress to the branches that are still healthy.
What to do if it’s caused by weather
Besides disease, another major cause of evergreens browning is the weather conditions. The ground freezing in the wintertime can restrict the tree’s access to crucial water and nutrients that it normally draws from the soil.
While the tree is attempting to access water, it will be losing moisture through the needles and this will ultimately lead to dehydration. It can seriously damage, and in severe cases, even kill the tree. Solving the problem involves ensuring the tree has plenty of access to water.
In areas where a severe winter is expected, thoroughly watering during the warmer months can help to prevent leaf burn once it gets cold. Another cause of damage to evergreen trees that can cause browning during the wintertime is due to animals chewing on the branches as they seek food during the sparse winter months.
You may need to take steps to protect your tree from animals if you have problems with pests such as deer, rats, or other creatures. Ask your local tree service about steps you can take, such as wrapping your tree during wintertime to ward off unwelcome visitors.
Making your tree healthy again
While there are plenty of causes of tree browning, fixing the tree ultimately boils down to two things: prevention and maintenance. Preventing browning is the first step that you can take by following the directions above. If that doesn’t work, call us up at Mr. Tree to assist you.
While it is possible to prune your tree and otherwise care for it yourself, we don’t recommend it as professional arborists are highly trained in what they do and are able to do it in such a way as to not only maximize the health of the tree, but also help to ensure the safety of their workers, your home, and your family.
With professional inspections and care, you will be able to keep your evergreen tree a beautiful rich green color throughout the entire year!