Common symptoms of underlying problems: -
Tree Decline or Dieback
Tree decline is a general loss of vitality throughout the entire tree caused by a systemic disease or by a sequence of stressing events that causes the tree to deplete its energy reserves. Twig and branch dieback is initiated in the tree as a response to poor growing conditions, physical injury to the tree and/or pest attack. Usually a combination of physical, climatic and pest problems lead to decline and dieback of trees. The factors that contribute to this decline are the subject of this publication, as well as management practices to prevent decline.
The key to good tree health is to keep the trees vigorous and in a good condition. Sometimes that is easier said than done, especially during excessive droughts.
Watering the trees (if a source of water is available) before water stress occurs is the best prevention. Tree care and maintenance are equally important to ensure that physical and chemical damage does not occur. A few guidelines to maintain healthy trees are:
1. Provide a site that is suitable for the tree species involved. Plant the right tree in the right place.
2. Provide protection for roots and trunks of trees during construction to reduce accidental injury and soil compaction.
3. When branch dieback occurs, proper pruning will reduce pest susceptibility and improve the tree’s appearance. Remove dead and dying branches promptly.
4. When roots are damaged or soil is compacted, continue to water the tree to maintain a more favorable rooting environment.
5. Water, fertilise and care for your trees when needed during stress periods.
Tree decline is becoming more prevalent, especially in older, mature trees that do not have the inherent capacity to recover from various stresses. Taking actions early to address tree stress will increase the probability of tree recovery. Older trees nearing the end of their life cycles may not recover from stress and secondary insect attacks. Plans to replace these trees in the landscape should be initiated.