Why Do Trees Die?
Trees are a great addition to any front yard. They instantly add curb appeal and can enhance the visual interest of just about any landscape. But removing dead or diseased trees can be fairly expensive and it’s often not safe for homeowners to remove trees on their own if it’s not done properly.
At Mr. Tree, we want you to avoid this costly expense by helping you care for your trees in the right way. So first things first, why do trees die anyway? Here, we’ll go over what causes trees to wither away and explain preventative measures you can take to ensure your tree’s overall health.
Naturally, some healthy trees die from old age. However, there are many trees that die prematurely due to improper care and maintenance. Environmental stressors, for instance, can cause severe damage to an unhealthy tree. A strong gust of wind may even uproot a tree, causing it to fall down. This can result in property damage, or worse, physical damage to someone standing in the tree’s vicinity. However, there are certain steps you can take to minimize your tree’s risk of succumbing to windthrow.
The first thing to remember is that softwood trees are more susceptible to windthrow than hardwood trees. Deciduous trees are also preferable to conifers, which have a shallow root system. Certain types of trees are also more vulnerable. Balsam fir, willow, white pine, and cedar are just a few examples. Keep this in mind when planting trees in your yard.
On the other hand, you may already have a yard with fully-grown trees. Let’s discuss ways to keep your trees standing firm and blowing in the wind, rather than keeling over and crashing down.
Soil type and condition are important factors in a tree’s health. For instance, sandy soil has good aeration, but does not retain nutrients well. On the other hand, clay soil has poor aeration, but is excellent at retaining nutrients. In order to get a good mix of both, you should opt for a clay loam soil.
A tree’s root system is also another important factor in preventing windthrow. You’ll want to make sure your tree has strong, long roots. Wet soil can prevent the tree’s roots from getting much-needed oxygen. Likewise, if the soil is too dry, the tree’s roots will dry out. You’ll want to make sure you are using a well-drained soil so the tree’s roots get the proper amount of nourishment. This quick test will help you confirm whether your soil drains properly.
So, aside from environmental stressors such as high winds, why do trees die? Harmful insects and disease are also contributing factors. There are many predatory insects that will attack anything from the roots of the trees to the bark and its leaves. Some are even sap-suckers and all can wreak serious havoc on your tree’s health. There are a few ways to ward off these harmful pests. Introducing beneficial insects to your yard is one way to keep these pesky predators at bay. There are also a number of natural solutions you can whip up fairly easily with just a few common household ingredients.
In addition to predatory insects, there are also a number of diseases that can infect your tree, weakening its structure and causing it to die. Proper care and maintenance of your tree can help ward off many common diseases. However, if your tree does become infected, early detection is key.
The first step to treating a diseased tree is to determine what is afflicting it. This may require professional expertise, so if you suspect that your tree has become infected, don’t hesitate to call one of our expert arborists. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are all potential culprits. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, you will be able to take the appropriate corrective action. For instance, spraying the tree with a chemical agent and removing and pruning the impacted branches could be enough to do the trick. Which leads us to our next point.
Human error is another reason trees may wither away. In order for a tree to stay healthy, it needs the right amount of TLC. That means proper upkeep, such as pruning, trimming, and shaping your trees on a regular basis. Evergreen trees should be pruned every three to five years, whereas ornamental trees should be pruned annually. You should also add soil nutrients to your trees every one to three years.
Many people take these tasks on as DIY projects. Preventative care will keep your trees healthy, helping you to save countless dollars in the long run. But careless pruning and root removal can wind up costing you more money over time. That’s why it’s best to consult with your local arborist. A professional can explain the best time of year to prune your trees based on species and will help assess the overall health of your tree. Your local arborist can also help keep you informed about when your tree needs to be serviced. With busy lives, it’s easy to become distracted and forgetful. But at Mr. Tree, we’ll make sure to send you reminders when it’s time to service your tree.
Taking care of your trees while they are still young will help them to last well into old age. If you suspect that your tree is dead or decaying, contact Mr. Tree for a proper assessment. We offer tree removal services should we determine that your tree cannot be salvaged.
If you’re uncertain of your tree’s health and overall condition, it’s also a good idea to give us a call. Certain conditions such as disease can be remedied fairly easily if caught early on. There are many reasons why trees die, but there’s few reasons they have to. With the proper expertise and attention, your trees will most certainly grow with a flourish.