Smaller leaves, slower growth, earlier fall season color or early leaf drop are all characteristics of a tree that is declining. While these can also signal a specific disease or insect infestation, sometimes the decline cannot be linked to just one cause.
Why does this happen to a tree? There are usually a number of reasons a tree starts declining in health. Recent weather conditions in Northern Illinois have adversely played a part in the health of many local trees and shrubs. We experienced drought conditions two summer seasons in a row, in addition to severe cold for the past two years. These severe weather conditions create a stressful environment for trees, making it even more vulnerable to disease and insect attacks. In addition, urban growing conditions are very challenging for trees. Trees must battle lawn mower damage, winter salt accumulation in the soil, sidewalk, street and house foundations that restrict root growth. Over time, these challenges may weaken the tree.
What can you do to help a tree in decline? Prevention is the key. Keep these tips in mind when caring for your landscape:
- Before planting any new trees or shrubs, make sure it matches the planting site. Choose a tree or shrub that will do well in the soil type, grows to an appropriate size for the location and will receive adequate sun or shade.
- Water both new and established trees and shrubs during drought periods. Newly planted trees and shrubs require regular watering until they become established, but during times of drought everything will need a drink. Click here for information on proper watering techniques.
- Protect the root system of your trees and shrubs by avoiding changes to the growing site. Construction damage, drainage and soil changes may contribute to irreversible tree or shrub decline.
How do you treat a tree in decline? Regular watering, fertilization and disease treatments, and pruning are all possible recommendations to help a declining tree. KTS offers the services of Certified Arborists that will properly evaluate your tree or shrub and offer options with your tree’s health in mind. Call us today for more information.