There are many factors that can cause a tree to fail or die. These are some of the most common reasons why trees may not reestablish properly after being planted or may die at any maturity level:
- Improper watering: Weather it is suffering from drought or rotten roots, too little or too much water can damage or kill a tree. If your tree is turning yellow or losing leaves in the wrong season, make sure you are following the watering schedule for your climate zone, the season of the year, and the specific type of tree. Also, if your plants are on a drip irrigation system, check your irrigation drips regularly. Sometimes, irrigation parts break or get clogged causing under or overwatering issues.
- Strong winds: if you live in an area with common strong winds and your newly planted tree is exposed, strong winds may stress and even knock the tree down. If possible, avoid trees with thin trunks and high root systems, and if necessary, double stake the tree until the tree reestablishes and becomes more mature. Use two sturdy stakes on either side of the tree and make sure they are perpendicular to the prevailing wind. When installing the wire, add some rubber hose to the wire in contact with the tree trunk to prevent the wire from scarring the bark.
- Inadequate pruning: sometimes too much pruning or pruning during the wrong season can stress or damage a tree. Extra branches provide the tree with extra shade which protects it from the hot summer, and the extra leaves provide extra food for the tree’s growth cycle. Ask a professional or consult specific literature on when and how to prune your trees.
- Poor location: it is very important to do your research and plant according to your specific climate zone. Nurseries usually carry a wide variety of trees, all of which may not be native to your specific climate zone. A good way to avoid failure is to choose trees and plants that are commonly used for commercial and urban landscape in your area.
- Soil compaction: soil can get compacted or dense as soil particles are pressed together reducing the pores and air between the soil grains. As the soil becomes more dense and compacted, it will lose its ability to hold and conduct water, nutrients, and air, necessary for the roots’ and plant’s normal development. You can amend an existing poor soil or prevent soil compaction by adding sand and organic mulches or compost to the soil.
- Pests: some of the most common pests that affect trees are aphids, spider mites, scales, mealy bugs, beetles, borers, and some kinds of caterpillars and moths. While sometimes the only way to get rid of them seems to be a systemic or some kind of strong chemical, always try to choose the most environmentally friendly products or the ‘natural enemies’ alternative. For instance, lady bugs love eating aphids and they are a great way to control or diminish this type of pest.
- Mechanical damage: weather events or animal and human activity can produce mechanical damage that can cause stress or even death to trees of any size. Examples of which include: scars on tree trunks produced by machinery or animals, bark feeding by bears, broken branches by strong winds or lighting strikes, etc.
- Learn more about why trees are so good for us and the environment in Plant a Tree!
- Shade, privacy, accent, size, maintenance… Learn how to find The Right Tree for You and your climate zone and how to plant your tree by following a few simple steps.
- How to Plant Your Tree
We cannot live without trees. Let’s cherish and promote their existence!