Everything in life has a season, including your trees. It is one of the saddest moments that we have seen as tree care professionals – trees that you valued and loved that have died. This is something that will happen to every tree at some point, though many people don’t stay in a house long enough to see it happen to many trees.

There are simple and easy ways to spot if your tree has died – it won’t have any new growth at all, no leaves, fruit, flowers, or bark. Anything that was on the tree will have turned brown or black and withered up. Your trees may have been displaying signs of death for some time, or it could have been a fungus or infestation that happened quickly and killed your tree. Still, they tend to hang around for some time after the tree itself has already died.

If you know that your tree has died, what should you do? Here are a few steps to take:

4. Check for Root Rot

  • Your tree may not have died after all
  • Happens during particularly rainy seasons
  • Can be revived

According to Gardenerdy, “Sometimes, trees start dying due to root rot on account of over-watering. Water the tree only when the soil around it appears to be dry and fragmented. If there is a water-logging at the foot of the tree, make sure to devise a proper drainage system for the same. You may opt for removing soil from water-logged area and exposing the roots to fresh air for a few days.”

If you are the type of person that likes to water your trees on a regular basis, you may want to consider checking for root rot before you declare your tree dead. This is one of the most common causes of a tree that looks like it is dead, but actually isn’t. If you allow your tree to “dry out” for a few weeks and nothing changes, your tree has likely died. However, there is a good chance that it will come back to life.

3. Call a Tree Care Professional

  • May be able to save your tree
  • Can help to properly remove the tree
  • Will make suggestions for other trees that you have in your yard

If you have a tree that you believe is dead, calling a tree care professional is one of the first steps that you should take, according to the Tree Care Industry Association. Tree care professionals will be able to take a look at your trees and better understand whether or not your tree has died, and if it has, what went wrong. In some cases, the tree will have died from natural causes or old age. More often than not, however, there is an underlying cause to the death that you might need to handle to save the other trees and organic structures in your yard.

Tree care professionals will also help you to remove the tree from your yard. This is important, especially if the tree was diseased or had an infestation. There are special steps that need to be taken so that everything else stays healthy. Sometimes, tree care professionals can even help to give your tree new life – as firewood, mulch, or logs.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take tall trees down by yourself.

2. Check for Infestations

  • Can be a bigger problem than you knew
  • Can spread to other trees
  • Might require professional help

According to Gardener’s Path, infestations are one of the biggest causes of tree death, and they can be one of the scariest things you will encounter as a tree owner. This is because an infestation spreads very easily throughout yards. Once one tree has died, most insects and pests will no longer get what they want from the tree – water and nutrients. Instead of sticking around, they will simply move to the next easiest source of nourishment. Often, this will be a nearby tree.

If you look at your tree and see insects, or the remnants of insects or pests (holes, excrement, nests, or shells), you might have a bigger problem on your hands. It is best to get in touch with either a tree care professional or a pest management company – or both, in many cases. The sooner you can do this, the better, because you may be able to stop these parasites from killing the other structures in your yard.

1. Consider Replanting

  • Will help to close the hole
  • Make sure the ground is ready for a new plant
  • Consider new types of trees

After a tree has died and has been removed, the next thing to consider is whether or not you want to put another tree there. While your garden might not look great with a hole, many people don’t want to plant another tree there. Still, some people will want to do just that.

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.

Plants that have been killed by a disease, in particular a soil borne disease (e.g. honey fungus, Phytophthora root rot or Verticillium wilt) or difficult to control foliage/stem disease (e.g. box blight) are best replaced with something that shows resistance. Lists of resistant plants or those not affected can be found on our advice pages of common garden plant diseases. Plants that suffer from replant disease (e.g. roses) should not be replaced with the same type of plant.”

This is just another reason why it is important to know why your tree died so that you can move forward.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Southern Ontario, give Van Till Tree Care a call today at (705) 653-3777. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any tree removal issues, pruning trouble, or soil issues that you may find – of course, we can also help you with many other issues that you might find for your trees – from the very top of the tree to the roots.

Header photo courtesy of Chris on Flickr!

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