September 15


Your Tree Died: What to Do

By Noel D.

September 15, 2018

dead trees, tree care, tree dying

Your tree is dead. Many people don’t realize it, but this is something that hits you harder than you might imagine. Trees serve as the backdrops for so much of our lives and it can be really painful to have to say goodbye to them. Just think about it: we’ve seen our children climb trees. We’ve used them to hang Christmas lights or cabana lights. The trees have provided us with leaves to jump in with our grandchildren. The relationship that you formed with a tree, even if you didn’t realize it, is one that is very, very important. The truth is that you will have to move on from the death of your tree, so you need to be prepared for that and put your best foot forward so that you can move on – and maybe plant another tree that will give you similar memories.

How you handle the death will determine whether or not the other trees in your garden will be far behind it – doubling or tripling up on the pain that you experienced with the death of this tree. Dead trees need to be managed properly so that you can continue to have a healthful environment in your yard, and so that you can have some closure. It might seem instense, but the death of a tree is very serious.

So, what should you do after a tree dies?

Start here:

4. Check for The Guilty Party

Credit: AussieinTheUsa
  • One of the most common killers are infestations
  • Can transfer to other trees or plant life in your yard
  • Might call for competent help of some kind

Something very small might be the killer of your beloved tree. Too often, we just assume that everything in nature works well together and that we are the ones that mess everything up. However, the circle of life is cruel and sometimes parts of nature do not play well together.

According to Gardener’s Path, infestations can kill trees remarkably quickly. This is because once they find something that offers them with nourishment or security, they spread the news to their relatives. Once the tree is dead, it can no longer provide the sustenance. These aren’t congenial pests, nonetheless, and they don’t just move onto someone else’s tree– they will move onto the next live source of nutrition they can find. Most often, this is something else in your property.

If your tree is dying, look to see if there are insects or the fragments of insects or pests (cavities, discharge, nests, or hulls). These insects have been eating your tree from the inside out – sucking up the nutrients and inviting their friends over for more.

3. Consider Your Replanting Options

beautiful dead tree
Credit: Clint Budd
  • Be careful when acquiring new trees or greens
  • Make sure the dirt is prepared for a new tree
  • Consider new types of trees– or the same varieties in some cases

If you want to replace your tree with an exact copy of what you had before, you will have to do a little bit of work to ensure that the soil is prepared for the tree.

You might consider getting your soil tested so that you can be sure the soil is ready for the sapling. Over the years, trees can really take nutrients out of the soil and while a mature tree survives there, a young tree might not be able to do the same thing.

Another thing you want to consider is why your tree died, as this can impact how you plant another tree.

According to the Royal Horticulture Society, “Plants that have died of physical causes such as waterlogging, poor establishment or underwatering can be replaced with the same type of plant. Remedy any site problems such as poor drainage prior to replanting.”

If you know why your tree died or why it got sick in the first place, you will better be able to figure out what to do with that barren space in your garden. This is key to moving on after the death of a tree.

2. Dutch Elm Disease

Birch tree dead
Credit: Alan Levine
  • Common disease hitting all elm trees
  • Can Be Cured
  • Talk to a professional if you have questions

If your tree has Dutch Elm Disease, one of the most common problems to face trees, it might not actually be ready to become firewood just yet. There is hope.

According to Gardenerdy, “This disease has severely affected the Elm trees all over America. The disease spreads like a wildfire from one tree to another on account of ascomycete microfungi carried by the American or European bark beetle. The disease can also spread to other Elm trees in the vicinity through the roots of an affected tree. You may notice wilting and gradual yellowing of branches from the crown towards the base. Branches start turning brown and dry up.”

If your tree as some of these symptoms, you can work to remedy it. Often, this disease is more likely to start from the top of the tree and then move down it. Your tree might look a little funny during the healing process, but it will help. A professional will have to cut the top of the tree off down to where the infection stops in order to give it a fighting chance.

1. Contact a Tree Care Professional

Dead Tree
Credit: Dwayne Madden
  • There is a chance to save your trees
  • Only technicians can take care of some removals
  • Will make suggestions for other trees in your yard if the underlying cause could kill them as well

According to the Tree Care Industry Association, no matter when your tree dies, you want to always have your tree inspected by a tree care professional who will be able to make a prognosis on the death. This prognosis is key to moving forward and preventing the same thing from happening again.

Not only that, but working with a professional can help to take away some of the blame that you feel – sometimes there is nothing that you could have done.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take tall trees (or any trees at all) down by yourself as it can be extremely dangerous and you will probably hurt yourself, another structure in your yard, or even your other trees.

If you are worried about your trees or you see something that just doesn’t look right, make sure to give Arbortec Tree Service a call at (303) 466-3175. While you can certainly watch over your trees and love them, there is nothing that beats the practiced hand of professionals.

Header photo courtesy of Martin Cathrae on Flickr!

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