A happy, vibrant, well-nourished tree is a HEALTHY tree!
Whilst wandering around the garden you may not have noticed that a plant or two has seen better days, maybe the flower heads have dropped from one of your Hydrangea, or the neighbours’ cat has been playing in your Fuchsia so it’s no longer the vibrant splash of colour, but a splayed out patch of pinks and greens. This type of garden activity tends to go fairly unnoticed by the homeowner, yet an unhealthy dying tree can quickly become an eyesore.
Is your tree sick?
Different trees will display different symptoms if they are sick, but the common symptom shared by all is if you notice that the tree(s) in your garden have failed to produce leaves at the time of year they usually would. If the bark appears brittle and can be easily knocked off, or if you notice that branches are drying out, drooping or even falling off completely the chances are there is something wrong with the tree. Often the cause can just be the age of the tree, but referring to a tree surgeon for advice will confirm this either way.
There are a number of factors to consider if you are trying to identify the reasons behind your unhealthy trees;
Water – Not a lack of (especially in the UK!), but a prolonged surplus of water can diminish shoot growth; rot the base of the trunk, which can eventually lead to the tree dying.
Chemicals – Many of us will douse the garden in herbicides/pesticides should we see a rise in the number of weeds that appear. If you also have trees in the garden ensure the chemicals are kept away from them, or purchase pesticides that are not harmful to them.
Insects – Insects (such as beetles), and certain bacteria’s can lead to irreversible damage to a tree which can lead to premature death.
Squirrels?! – Even the cute garden squirrel can result in an unhealthy tree. Commonly attracted to gardens where the homeowner leaves bird feed out, squirrels will sit in a tree and happily gnaw away bark from the branch. If this happens repeatedly this will weaken the tree and may cause the branch to die and drop off.
Soil – A change in soil depth or compaction can cause series damage to a tree, making it more susceptible to disease and insects. The roots of a tree take water, oxygen and minerals from the soil, so if this stops so will the tree’s nourishment.
Take a look at your trees outside. If you can spot any differences in appearance, growth, leaf density that is different to the normal cycles of change your tree goes through it is worth calling a professional tree surgeon for advice.
Given enough time a Tree surgeon may be able to save the tree by simply removing the dead sections, or the tree may have to be completely removed. If the tree is showing signs of disease, a tree surgeon should advise on what can be done to salvage the tree, assuming that is possible. If a trees decline can be linked to changes in the environment around it, the soil or water drainage, a tree surgeon can advise on the measures to take in an effort to bring the tree back to full health.