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From blight to bark beetles – The definitive guide to identifying the 6 reasons why your tree is dying
Trees show extraordinary resilience in defending against stressors threatening their roots, trunk, limbs, and leaves. However, several factors can adversely affect the tree, causing premature death. Understanding these factors is crucial for effectively safeguarding the health and longevity of your tree. We have outlined the common factors that can lead to tree death. Keep reading to gain insights.
Unfavorable Environmental Conditions
- The conditions of the ground and site where a tree lives play a substantial role in determining the environmental challenges it faces. A tree’s susceptibility to stressors is linked to its ability to adapt to its surroundings. For instance, if a tree sensitive to drought is planted in a dry environment during drought conditions, it may succumb due to insufficient water.
Additionally, it becomes vulnerable to other life-threatening factors. Environmental stressors for trees include various conditions, including poorly draining soils, saline soils, arid soils, air and ground pollution, intense sun exposure, cold spots, etc. When planting trees, it is crucial to consider the genetic tolerance of the species to specific environmental conditions.
- Virulent diseases like Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight have destroyed entire North American forests, causing sudden and widespread tree death. However, the more insidious diseases, such as Armillaria root rot, oak wilt, and anthracnose, quietly contribute to substantial tree losses, affecting forest and yard trees. These diseases infiltrate trees through leaves, roots, and bark wounds, compromising the vascular system if left untreated.
Therefore, it is crucial to identify the invasive pathogens and address them to save your landscape. Some insects attack trees weakened by environmental issues or diseases. In addition to directly causing tree death, these insects facilitate the spread of harmful fungi, posing a double threat to surrounding trees. These pests include pine beetles, the gypsy moth, and emerald ash borers.
Emerald Ash Borer Attack
- Another prevalent pest is the emerald ash borer. This invasive wood-boring insect poses a significant threat by infesting and harming native North American ash trees.
These borers affect the tree’s vascular system, but the damage they cause is often harder to detect. Observable symptoms include canopy dieback and D-shaped exit holes in the bark, typically near the base of the affected tree.
- Catastrophic events pose risks, damaging or destroying properties, including trees. Forest fires, tornado-strength winds, heavy ice deposition on sensitive tree species, slow-receding floods, and prolonged droughts contribute to significant tree losses.
Even when not immediately fatal, such events affect a tree’s health, making it susceptible to insect infestations and diseases.
The Aging Process
- Trees that endure external challenges and mature into old age succumb to the natural dying process, often spanning centuries in long-lived species. Modular compartmentalization helps trees survive damage and infections, but as growth slows post-maturity, the tree’s ability to self-sustain diminishes.
Insufficient foliage for hydration and nourishment, along with epicormic sprouts, signals the slow decline of an old tree. Ultimately, it crumbles, contributing to the nutrient pool and topsoil for future generations of trees.
- Many individuals pile mulch against their tree trunks, thinking it’s beneficial. However, this practice can lead to adverse effects. The mulch retains moisture, creating a damp environment against the tree trunk. Unfortunately, this persistent moisture becomes a breeding ground for rot and decay in the tree’s bark layer.
We can treat and prevent your trees from becoming infected and help already infected trees. At American Tree Experts, Inc., we offer the best services to keep your plants out of harm’s way. Our pest management services protect your trees from pests throughout the year. Our most sought-after services are pruning, bracing, pest, and nutritional management. We offer services in Montclair, New Jersey. Call us at (973) 744-6091 for a free quote.