Each year, I make New Year’s Resolutions, as I’m sure many people do. While I’m at it, I also make Tree Resolutions, or goals of how to make sure my trees start out and remain healthy and vibrant all year long. My Tree Resolutions for this year are that I will pay more attention to and spend more time with my trees. Also, that I will listen to my trees when they tell me something is wrong! Now, I’m not saying that trees can actually talk and that I listen to them. However, I am talking about how trees give us outward signs and symptoms that they are hurt or stressed.
Here are several things to look for this year:
- Leaves looking small, yellow, and possibly brown during the growing season. The tree is telling you it needs WATER! Make sure you give your tree a nice, slow, long drink during dry periods.
- Tree trunks have mushrooms or conks growing on them. The tree is telling you it may have some amount of dead or dying wood within the tree dependent upon the location of the conk. Have a certified arborist come and check your trees for the extent of decay and let you know if it can be slowed down.
- Tree or shrub leaves turning black and the car parked under the tree is sticky? The tree is telling you it has an insect problem. Several insect pests feed on leaves and produce honeydew (a sticky substance), which turns into sooty mold on the leaves (black). Your tree needs to be on an annual plant health care program to help combat insect pest problems.
- Sawdust coming out around the base of your tree. This could be carpenter ants, or worse, Ambrosia Beetles. The sawdust of the beetle is very fine like brown sugar texture. Once your tree is infested, it’s too late. It’s time to do removal surgery on the infested tree and treat the surrounding trees to save them.
- Trees have holes in the trunk after a tree company has worked on them. The tree is telling you that the person who climbed the tree had spikes on and hurt the tree. Do not hiresomeone who spikes trees to prune them. This will give insects and diseases a way to enter the tree.
Overall, the best resolution for your trees is to have a certified arborist (also known as a “tree doctor”) check them out once a year. These doctors actually make house calls, and your trees will be healthier for it!