Sick Tree Treatment

sick treeNature has created its own way of cleaning up through decomposition, and such is the case of a sick tree. Insects and microbes that may be infecting a tree are not truly causing sickness in the tree, but rather they are the one’s doing their job to decompose the sick tree. Sickness in tree’s is actually known to be caused by environmental conditions, such as chemical pesticides, soil compaction, plants which are not adapted to the environmental conditions, over watering, under watering, over fertilization, etc…. The immune systems of tree’s, which are kept in a stable, stress-free, condition are able to resist the infestation of insects and microbes, and there are simple, all organic, ways in which you may maintain the health of your tree’s.

The first thing you must do is to stop using chemical pesticides and fertilizers high in nitrogen. The chemical pesticides will kill the beneficial microbes, nematodes, and insects, which actually help maintain balance within the tree. High nitrogen fertilizers will not properly feed your tree’s, will contaminate soil, and will also destroy the chemistry of the tree’s soil. You will instead want to turn to all organic products, which will properly feed your tree while working with the beneficial insects, nematodes, and microbes. To begin, I suggest foliar feeding, which involves spraying the leaves, limbs, twigs, and trunk, with my Extreme Juice at least once a month. My Extreme Granules work wonderfully as an all organic fertilizer for your soil, which I suggest sprinkling around the base of your tree’s and watering well into the soil. Both of these products will work well with the beneficial microbes and insects that are protecting your tree’s against disease. Other products I recommend quite often are compost tea, molasses and cornmeal. Compost tea, which is made by soaking or steeping compost in water, works well as a fertilizer and can be applied as a soil drench. Molasses is a wonderful source of carbohydrates that will feed the beneficial microbes and can be added to your Extreme Juice or compost tea at about ¼ cup of molasses per one gallon of Extreme Juice/compost tea. Finally, cornmeal will assist in fighting diseases in your tree’s. Horticultural cornmeal can be spread over soil at about 20-30 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.

One major problem I commonly see is tree’s being planted too deeply with a great deal of fill, or eroded, soil added to the top of the root flare, or the base of the trunk that flares into the roots. A few problems can arise as a result of this. First, excess soil on top of root flare reduces the amount of oxygen available to the roots. Second, heavy build-up of soil or mulch around the trunk of a tree retains a great deal of moisture and can cause a great deal of rotting. To correct such problems you must take extra precautions not to damage the tree. You may look to have the soil professionally removed, or you can look to remove it yourself carefully. Look towards using a water hose and spraying the soil away from the base of the trunk and root flare, or you may also look towards using a broom or brush and carefully brushing the soil away.

Finally, just like so many living organisms, tree’s need oxygen, and aeration of the root zone is extremely important and will help to improve the physical properties of the soil. Aeration is not only vital to the health of the tree, but also to the beneficial microbes that also need oxygen. A deficiency of oxygen can cause a disruption of the metabolic process’ of the tree and can also cause a build-up of toxic substances and a decreased amount of nutrient uptake. Due to the fragile nature of roots you must take precautions when you aerate the soil of the root zone. The soil must never be tilled, plowed, or ripped; instead you will want to look towards punching holes in the soil. This can be done using such items as an Air Spade, turning forks, liquid injectors, or core aerators. You will want to look towards punching holes 6-8” deep and covering an area from the trunk of the tree out beyond the drip line. Heavy aeration is recommended.

Dave Owens the Garden Guy
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