A Dying Tree from Storm Damage

Spring storms are coming and tree damage is almost a certainty.

But what do you do to save a dying tree that has been damaged in spring storms?

The first step is to learn to identify trees.  Dying trees are all treated differently so understanding the exact species is critical.

The lack of snow and snow cover this year along with the strong winds we have had can evaporate the roots of any tree.  A dry tree will soon become a dying tree.  If the ground appears dry in the spring, you can be sure it will get worse in the summer, so, the first step is watering your tree on a regular basis.  This is called root feeding or root watering.

Most tree roots are at a depth of between a foot and two feet deep and spread out an area of two to four times the diameter of the tree at its widest point. For evergreens especially, this is not a very strong root system so any tree damage can be fatal.

At any Home Depot or garden shop, you can buy a root feeder or a water needle. A root feeder is a long thin pipe with a canister at the top and a connection for a garden hose. In the canister you can put fertilizer pellets that will fertilize the tree at the roots as you water it. Do not just buy any type of fertilizer, call a certified arborist after you identify the tree. There are several different types of fertilizer pellets depending if the tree is an evergreen or deciduous.

To use the root feeder, attach the garden hose to it and push the needle into the ground. The spring is the best time to begin this process.  If you wait too long, the needle will not penetrate the ground. Soak the tree as slowly as possible! Let the water soak into the ground slowly. You root feed under the outer branches.  Root feed in at least five or six places.

Root feeding is a great way to help bushes get ready for another hot summer. Using the root feeder on really hard compacted parts of your lawn also works well to get the grass hydrated.

Many times a tree service will just water a tree regularly and it will snap back to life the following year. Fertilizer pellets are not needed in many cases, just a good deep watering is all that’s needed sometimes to bring back a dying tree.

If the tree isn’t responding to the root feeding, check for tree insects. Two things to look for are bugs that are boring into the bark of the tree or trees tree insects that eat the leaves. Again, identify the tree as a first step. Spraying may help but we recommend calling a certified arborist.