As our spring season fast approaches and the buds of our trees just start to break, we would like you to take note of your tree’s health. Just like our bodies, your tree can give you signs that it is in distress.
Similar to how we can respond to frostbite by sacrificing our extremities to conserve heat at our core, a tree will start sacrificing the branches at it’s tips when in distress in order to conserve the energy needed to survive. Your trees do this because it takes more energy to move nutrients to its tips, than further back along its stem. This dieback of the branch tips may be produced by a combination of many different factors that cause the tree to drain resources (poor nutrition, pests, weather, lightning strike, construction damage, etc.)
Healthy living begins with a healthy diet. Whether it be a plant, animal, or person, we all need good nutrition in order to live a long and fruitful life. Unlike animals or people, plants cannot choose their diet, their diet is simply whatever happens to be beneath them. The natural cycle of leaves, wood, and other organic material breaking down over hundreds of years is what creates the nutrient dense topsoil that plants thrive on. However due to human intervention this natural cycle is broken by construction, erosion, and farming, thus leading our trees to be malnourished. The most important thing you can do for the trees in our urban environment is give them the nutrients they need to live a long healthy life.
Many types of insects can damage your trees however a group of insects known as bark beetles stands out as a particular nuisance. Bark beetles will bore into your tree and disrupt its ability to transport nutrients throughout itself. This can in turn quickly lead to substantial damage or even death of your tree. Identification and quick response of this insect is key. Look for small toothpick-like protrusions coming out of your tree or a collection of sawdust-like substance along the stem or at the base of your tree.
Diseases such as Phytophthora canker can cause long term structural damage to your tree but are a relatively minor threat if caught early. Phytophthora canker will degrade the living tissue of your tree if allowed to spread. The canker will begin as a small weeping black spot typically at the base of the tree. As the disease spreads those spots will become larger and more numerous.
If you notice any of the issues discussed or simply want to have a checkup for your trees, please contact your arborist. No matter what issue your tree may be facing we are here to help, thank you and enjoy the coming spring.