Is My Tree Dying?

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

tree live longer.

I will add that county agents do look at trees and I do of­ten, but agents are not cer­ti­fied to do hazard as­sess­ments of trees like an ar­borist would do if hired.

When eval­u­at­ing a tree, start at the base of the tree and look at the root sys­tem and the root flare of the trunk. Do you see fun­gal bod­ies such as mush­rooms or conks grow­ing on the ground around the root sys­tem? If you seed these fun­gal bod­ies, this is a sign of se­vere or ad­vanced rot in the trunk or root sys­tem of the tree. Root de­cay is­sues can­not be re­versed or fixed so this will cause the tree to be less sta­ble. Root de­cay is a sign that the tree is in a death spi­ral. If the root sys­tem is fail­ing, the tree will de­cline and the tree can fall. You also need to look at the trunk flare at the tree base. A healthy tree will be wider at the base where the tree meets the ground. In­spect the flare ar­eas for signs of injury. This is where you can see weed eater or lawn­mower dam­age or dam­age where a per­son backed a car into the tree. Injury can re­duce the flow of wa­ter and nu­tri­ents, less vigor and can lead to struc­ture is­sues.

Con­struc­tion dam­age can also be a prob­lem with trunk flare ar­eas and also is­sue when roots are cov­ered with soil. Most roots are in the top 12-18 inches of soil so they can be dam­aged by all kinds of con­struc­tion from sep­tic lines, side­walk work or soil grad­ing in the root zone. Re­mem­ber to also look at the ac­tual trunk of the tree. Look again for fungi growth which is a sign of in­ter­nal rot. Look for ar­eas of bark dam­age or signs of dis­ease. Look for cankers on the stem or branches or even phys­i­cal dam­age in the bark. Bark dam­age can slow nu­tri­ent trans­porta­tion and can re­sult in dieback of branches and limbs.

Fi­nally, look at the branches and leaves. Do the leaves look healthy? Do you see leaf spot­ting? Do you see in­sect or dis­ease dam­age? Do the leaves look of nor­mal size and color? Leaf injury can be the re­sult of many things such as drought or in­sect dam­age for ex­am­ple. Leaf is­sues could be tem­po­rary. Early leaf loss may be a sign of branch dieback and a more se­ri­ous is­sue at the same time early leaf loss could be a tem­po­rary stress caused by drought or dis­ease that does not cause long term is­sues. You can look for dieback which are de­fo­li­ated limbs or twigs seen out of the tree canopy. Dieback can be a sign of other is­sues such as in­ter­nal de­cay.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact UGA Ex­ten­sion- Gor­don County at 706-629-8685 or email gbow­man@uga. edu.

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