Trees are living organisms and as such, fall prey to disease and insect attack. If treated early, most trees can recover from these ailments.
Careful observation can give homeowners the information they need to keep landscape trees healthy. Early treatment is the best way to ensure the recovery of a sick tree.
A good way to determine if a deciduous tree is sick is to monitor the leaves. Leaves produce the tree’s food and should be deep green, large and firmly attached to the stalk.
Leaves which are stunted in growth, yellow or off-color and exhibit early drop all indicate the tree is experiencing some illness. Curled or deformed leaves and ones with obvious insect attack are two more signs of problems.
Clues about the tree’s health can also come from the trunk. Insect bore holes, rodent teeth marks near the base and dark, oozing patches indicate trouble. Homeowners should keep an eye on sections of the trunk where the tree lost a branch.
This is the perfect place for fungus and rot to creep in and destroy the tree from the inside out. Also, if a tree has become the favorite feeding ground of woodpeckers, there is probably an insect infestation under the bark.
Coniferous, or evergreen, trees should appear healthy, full and green all year. Most evergreens don’t exhibit signs of illness for several years after an initial attack, so homeowners must be extra diligent monitoring these trees.
Evergreens with rust-colored needles, tips of branches where there are no needles and dead crowns are clues of serious issues.
The bark of a conifer should be intact and have few spots where pitch is apparent. Holes in the bark and ample quantities of pitch are indicators of insect attack.
Although trees are susceptible to many diseases and bugs which can cause illness, the good news is most trees respond well to treatment. Mature landscape trees are expensive to replace.
With a little preventive observation, homeowners can protect the health of their trees. Considering the time it takes for a tree to reach mature height, this is a worthy investment.