Top Reasons Trees Fail To Survive

Jan 12, 2016

When it comes to trees dying instead of surviving and thriving, the reasons can vary depending on the tree, its immediate environment and any recent changes that have happened. For younger trees the answer can be more varied where with aged trees, dying happens for a handful of reasons such as damage or soil changes. Consider the following information on tree failure.

Products Introduced To The Trees Environment

It is especially true that younger tress can easily stop thriving and even die from being introduced to a new product. Spraying your yard with pesticides or herbicides can quickly cause a problem. You may think you are safe because you didn’t spray the tree but these products can easily be carried on the wind quite a distance and then harm your tree. Often symptoms appear as bleached out leaves or leaves that curl up at the tip. Mature trees generally will survive a scalding like this but younger trees may not be so lucky.

Maybe you haven’t used anything new, but the tree is near a road. If heavy traffic is very close to your tree and it’s not thriving, you may want to consider this as a contributing problem. If you think this may be a reason your tree isn’t looking as healthy as it should one solution is moving the tree. Contacting a certified arborist will help you find other solutions as well.

Poor Location Choice For Tree Planting

Another common reason a young tree will fail to thrive is if it is planted in the wrong spot. This can leave the tree lacking nutrients, proper root space or proper lighting and therefore it will never grow like it is meant to. Some things to consider is if the soil is wet or dry, if it’s a sunny or shady spot and if there is good circulation. When planted in the wrong spot a tree may die very slowly. Some symptoms you may notice include dead leaves if the soil is dry, mildewed leaves if there isn’t enough sun or wilting leaves if the soil is too wet.

Root Rot

Root Rot can hit mature trees as well as the younger trees. This problem generally arises when a tree’s roots come into contact with too much water. Tree roots generally do best with well-drained, moist soil. Trees that sit in too much moisture will die from not having oxygen. Root rot symptoms show as a loss of leaves and dieback of limbs. This can happen because a tree is planted in a less than ideal location, because of seasonal flooding or from other unplanned water surplus.

Soil Problems Where The Tree Is Planted

This is another problem that befalls younger trees more quickly but it can also cause harm to your mature specimens as well. It’s important to get a soil analysis regularly. It is done for free at county extension offices and will tell you what deficiencies your soil has. The test will also tell you if the soil is low or high in pH and what the salt level is. Having this kind of information will allow you to add to the soil to provide enrichment. If your tree is over fertilized, you may see wilting and leaf loss. If it is undernourished, then you may notice chlorosis in the leaves. With a simple soil test you can make adjustments here and therefore save your tree.

It’s not just about what’s in the soil, either. It is also about how much soil there is. One reason a large, older tree starts to fail is because of soil build up. When areas around a tree get filled up with heavy soil there may not be enough air getting to the roots of the tree. This will make the health of the tree begin to decline. You may notice wilting leaves, leaf loss and dieback.

Pests and Insects

Another major concern for both young trees and mature ones are pests. If you have heavy traffic from deer, beavers, and other wildlife you may see your bark being nibbled or rubbed off of the tree. There are also a host of insects that will attack your trees and feed off of the bark. If you suspect, you are having issues with insects or wildlife attacking your trees your best choice is likely to speak with a certified arborist to make adjustments. Some measurements can be taken to insure your trees aren’t eaten off of and to treat for any insects that may be infesting your trees.

Damage To Tree Left Uncared For

With any size tree damage can happen. This can come in the form of high winds ripping branches down, animals chewing off bark or limbs, and heavy fruit harvests braking branches down. When small cracks in branches are left untended a larger portion of the branch will suffer and fail. This can add up to an unhealthy tree, which over time can lead to the death of the tree. If your tree is damaged by weather or by heavy production it may be best to consult a professional arborist for the best treatment. This should be done quickly as the longer the damage is left untreated, the greater the damage to the tree overall.

Untreated Disease

Most older trees can get hit by disease and won’t die. If the disease is left unchecked for a season or two this won’t always prove the case. One of the reasons that trees don’t thrive is because disease isn’t always easy to spot for the untrained eye. A regular consultation with an arborist can help spot disease early and help spot areas that need pruning.

What Can I Do?

One of the best things you can do if you suspect your tree isn’t as healthy as it should be, is to contact a certified arborist. These professionals will come out and evaluate your tree, let you know what’s going on and propose a treatment plan. You may find that repairing the tree is very simple or perhaps the tree is beyond saving and it is time to consider a fresh planting.