Before deciding to take any treatment options with your tree, it is important to correctly identify any probable causes for the ailment.
Some problems are only an aesthetic concern while others are a serious threat to the life of the tree. A good Arborist should take a systemic approach when looking for possible problems,looking at the entire tree (foliage, branches, trunk and roots) and not just the areas that seem to show a problem.
When examining the Foliage look for:
- curling edges
- holes, ragged edges
- black spots or mildew
When examining the Bark and Branches look for:
- bark that has been injured by mowing equipment, animals or vehicles
- evidence of insects (holes or tunnels)
- decay or hollowing of the trunk
- discolor or streaks in the bark (might indicate fungal infections)
- any wet or sticky substance oozing from the bark (might indicate bacterial infections)
- splits or cracks in the bark (might indicate sun scalding, frost or lightning damage)
When Examining the Roots, look for:
- the soil being too wet or too dry
- was the tree planted too deep?
- girdling roots
- any recent construction near by (new patio, driveway etc…)
- any deicing salts for snow and ice or any other chemicals used near by?
- is it possible the plastic or burlap sack was left on during planting?
Many of the situations listed above can cause damage and can be linked to tree decline, however knowing the typical characteristics of a particular tree will also help determine specific problems.
- knowing what kind of tree it is
- size and approximate age
- what kind of chemicals or pruning methods have been used in the past?
- how long has the tree been showing signs of trouble?
The answers to these particular question are ways that a home owner and the Arborist can work together to correctly diagnose a problem and if possible get effective treatment in place swiftly for the health of your trees. As with many things, education is the key to make your trees strong healthy and beautiful.