Tips For Monitoring Tree Health

Posted on: 20 July 2017

Your trees provide a lot of value to your landscape, in fact, they can sometimes even increase the value of your home. Issues occur when you ignore or simply don't notice when a major problem is brewing. This can lead to the premature loss of the tree, which could further cause property damage if it were to blow down or begin dropping large branches. The following can help you spot problems before this happens.

Perform an early spring reconnaissance mission

Early spring, after the bulk of bad winter weather is past but before the tree leaves out, is the best time to look for damage since all of the branches are clearly visible. Large broken or cracked branches, especially if they are only being held up by other branches, need to come down before spring storms bring them down. Branches that are crossed or simply too large in relation to the rest of the canopy should also be trimmed or removed.

Watch for fungus

One of the early signs of a major problem is fungal growth. If mushrooms or shelf fungi begin popping up around the base of the tree or along the trunk, then the tree may already be rotting from the inside. Most fungi feed off of dead organic matter. In many cases, the visible fungus you see, the mushrooms, are the fruiting bodies, so when they are growing on a trunk then the main part of the fungus could actually be growing on dead material inside of the trunk. An arborist must be called to verify that heart rot in the tree is the cause. If so, the tree must be removed.

Monitor the leaves

Once in leaf, the foliage is the best measurement of tree health. Trees will begin dropping leaves prematurely if there is environmental stress, such as not enough water. In many cases the tree can survive the foliage loss if it happens later in the season or if there is only partial loss, but it's best to bring in a professional to make sure it was environmental stress and not disease that lead to the leaf drop.

The growth of small stunted or misshaped leaves can indicate disease. Discoloration can show anything from water stress to disease or even pest infestation. Sometimes trees can recover if the problem leading to the foliage issues is remedied quickly enough, so make sure you monitor the foliage regularly throughout the season.

For more help, contact an arborist or tree service like Phoenix Tree Service in your area.