We all know trees need water to survive, but when floods or overwatering occur, water can become surprisingly dangerous to a tree’s health. If this season’s heavy rainfall has left your soil soggy, your trees and shrubs should be checked for these serious health concerns.
pH Imbalance Excess water on the ground can dilute the soil’s natural mineral content, which can make the soil either too alkaline or too acidic. While some trees are able to survive changes in pH levels, others are more sensitive and could start to experience stunted growth or yellow spots on their leaves, among other symptoms.
Root Damage Flood waters can harm your tree’s root system in many ways. Too much water among the roots can basically drown the tree by impairing its ability to absorb oxygen, while foreign sediment that floods wash into the area can compact the soil and make it difficult for roots to grow. The extra wet soil also creates an ideal growing environment for fungus and disease that could contribute to root rot. And of course, if the soil is really saturated, it may no longer be able to provide the stability needed to keep your tree’s roots anchored to the ground.
Once the flood waters have abated, you might think your tree is safe, but the ground beneath your tree can hold onto excess water for a long time after the surface starts to look dry. Applying a thin layer of mulch around your tree can help to absorb some of the excess water and pull it to the surface where it can dry, and an application of potassium phosphite can help to fight off disease and rot.
But when the ground is really wet, this may not be enough! To save and protect your tree, it’s important to contact an experienced arborist that can:
evaluate and correct your tree’s drainage
aerate the soil to help it dry
determine pH levels and soil conditions, then make corrections based on findings
Did you find that some of the trees on your property were damaged when the last storm rolled through? It’s important to take care of any cracked and broken limbs quickly so that you don’t risk the damaged branches falling and causing harm to other property, vehicles, and people. We have a few tips for figuring out whether your tree needs to be removed or can be nursed back to health.
Assess the Damage You’ll need to take a look at your tree’s condition after the storm passes, but be very cautious around storm-damaged trees as broken branches could fall at any moment. Look for major limbs that are cracked, dead, or broken. These will likely need to be removed to avoid future disasters. Is there extensive damage to the tree’s crown, or did it lose most of its limbs? Without enough branches and foliage to collect sunlight, the tree will not be able to get enough nourishment to thrive and may eventually die. If you’re uncertain, a professional arborist will be able to tell you if your tree can be saved. Check the roots of your tree too. If the roots were pulled up even a little bit, the tree’s foundation could be weakened enough to put it at risk of falling over.
Remove Broken Branches Damaged or dead parts of your tree should be removed as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of accidents occurring as well as give your tree room to recover from the abuse of a heavy storm. Make sure you remove the limbs properly. Even if a branch is barely hanging on, it should be cut rather than simply yanked off the tree in order to avoid stripping the tree’s bark.
Avoid Over-pruning Once the damaged branches have been removed, your tree may appear uneven or misshapen. Resist the urge to keep cutting branches to achieve a more pleasing shape. Your tree has suffered some serious injuries and needs all the help it can get to recover. Every healthy branch that remains will help to provide your tree with the nourishment it needs to return to its former health and beauty.
Use a Trusted Arborist Service After a storm, the affected area will often be visited with “door-knockers” offering their services to clean up your damaged trees. There is usually no way to tell if these workers are qualified, and the convenience of door-to-door tree service could end up really costing you when a tree that should have been removed later falls, or you end up losing a tree that could have been saved. If you feel uncertain about caring for your trees yourself, then a certified, insured arborist will be best suited to care for the trees on your property while giving you peace of mind.
Many of us have childhood memories associated with trees—climbing in them, swinging from their branches, or diving into piles of their leaves. With these activities in mind, it should be easy to imagine how the death of a tree could not only be a sad event, but also a dangerous situation!
We see it all too often. When decay spreads within a tree, it causes the tree to drop heavy branches or even lean precariously to one side as it pulls up its roots and eventually falls to the ground. Suddenly, the same limbs that once offered shade and protection come crashing through windows, walls, and rooftops, endangering not only your property, but also anyone who happens to be there!
Fortunately, trees have a few ways of telling us that they’re in poor health, which means you can stop these kinds of disasters before they happen. We came up with five easy-to- spot symptoms that may mean your tree is dead or dying:
Tilted or Leaning Trunk Some trees grow at a natural slant, and that’s OK. But if your once tall and straight tree is suddenly leaning hard to one side, there is a chance that its trunk and/or root system has been damaged. Disease, infestation, and inclement weather are all possible causes, but whatever’s behind your tree’s new angle, it could mean the tree needs to be propped back up or even removed.
Fallen Branches Been picking up a lot of dead branches under your tree lately? Falling limbs are pretty strong evidence that a tree is dying—and a warning that bigger branches might start falling soon.
Patches, Cracks, and Holes The bark of a tree can tell you a lot about what’s going on underneath. Take a walk around the trunk of your tree, looking it up and down. Do you see patches of bare wood with no bark? Deep cracks in the bark, or holes left where branches have broken off? These symptoms might indicate that your tree is no longer thriving.
Not Enough Leaves—Or Too Many If some or all of your tree’s limbs are missing their new, green leaves come spring and summer, it’s safe to assume that those limbs are dead. If it hasn’t already, the rest of the tree will soon follow. However, dying can actually make a tree fail to drop its leaves in the fall, so your tree’s habit of holding on to dead, brown leaves well into the winter is also cause to consider having it evaluated for treatment or removal.
Rotting Roots and Trunk It can be hard to tell from the outside, but any type of fungi on your tree is a sure sign that your tree is rotting from within. Check for any mushrooms or other types of fungi growing on the trunk, roots, or soil immediately surrounding the tree. Their presence means that they are feeding on the rot that has taken over beneath the bark.
So, check out your tree. Do you see any of these symptoms? Don’t despair! There’s a chance that proper treatment could still return your tree to its former health.
Your run-of-the-mill yard service is unlikely to know how to recognize and treat disease in trees, but Southeastern Tree Removal is trained and experienced in tree care. In the event that your tree is beyond saving, we can remove it with the greatest care, leaving your property clean and safe from falling branches. But, if you spotted these symptoms early enough, we will develop a care plan to rescue your tree, so you can swing from its branches for many years to come!
This is what can happen to a tree given some winter conditions and neglect. This tree had never been pruned and had an extremely full canopy. This storm also hit when our area's trees hadn't dropped their leaves yet so this tree was even heavier than it would have been post fall. However, it is very important that your larger trees remain pruned and ready for any strong storms no matter what time of year.
Light pruning and removal of dead branches can be done anytime of year but heavy pruning is best during dormancy. Pruning in the winter can result in a huge growth spurt during spring. If this is your wish, then prune this winter. Pruning is also easiest in the winter months because the foliage is gone, making it easier to see the tree's shape. It is usually best to wait until the worst of winter has past to do the major pruning, but here in South Carolina winter is usually pretty mild so just about anytime will do. You'll notice that some trees will "bleed" when the sap begins to flow but don't worry, this isn't harmful to the tree. When blooming begins, the sap bleeding will cease.
If you want to prune smaller trees and shrubs yourself, there are many places to get how-to guides online that will walk you through it. However, for the larger trees, it's best that you call a professional tree service company. Winter months bring discounts on tree services as they are the slower months in the industry. If you're thinking of hiring a tree service company in the midlands, call Southeastern Tree Removal. We love what we do and it shows!