Five Common Spring Tree Concerns

Spring is here! And with spring, many of us will be spending more time outside. The warmer weather and longer days are great for people to enjoy our beautiful trees, but there are some things you should look for when it comes to their health. Here are five common tree concerns that you may encounter this spring:

My tree is not leafing out.

If your tree is not leafing out, it might still be too cold. The ideal temperature for most trees to begin growing new leaves is between 50- and 55-degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal temperature range for growth varies by species and age of the tree. In addition to weather, different trees leaf out at different times, depending on their inherent anatomy and genetics

Another possible reason for delayed leafing could be lack of moisture in the soil due to an extended dry period. To aid in this process, it is recommended you continue to care for your tree by watering regularly: 2 to 3 times a week for 15 minutes on a slow trickle around the base of the tree.

Newly planted trees need time to adjust to their new location and grow into an established tree. As the tree becomes established, it will leaf out and grow as usual. If your tree is not leafing out and there are no visible signs of disease or damage to the leaves, then your tree might just be too young.

My tree isn’t growing.

If you think your tree is not growing, there could be several reasons. The first step in diagnosing and treating the problem is to determine whether the tree itself is healthy. This can be done by looking at its leaves, branches and trunk to see if they are green and healthy looking or brown and shriveled up. If the leaves are not turning yellow but appear to be browning from within (sometimes called “brown tip”), this could mean that there is an issue with water quality or nutrient availability in your soil; try adding some fertilizer to see if that helps.

If you have a newly planted tree, know that in the first few years after planting most trees expend most of their energy growing their root system and canopy growth is much slower. Give your trees time to flourish!

My tree is leaning.

You may have noticed your tree leaning to one side.  Poor soil, winter storms or snow and ice damage could be the cause.

Poor soil can lead to leaning trees because of the way it drains water out of the ground. If you have clay-like soil that holds a lot of water and doesn’t drain well, then your tree will be at risk for root rot, a condition where its roots are unable to get enough oxygen due to being covered in too much moisture. If you don’t believe you have a soil issue, and you think your tree has just experienced stress from winter winds and storms know that trees are very malleable. They are naturally strengthened by the elements. Give it time to adjust itself but if your concern persists into summer, please call to have one of our arborist to come assess it.

My tree has sprouts coming out at the base of the trunk.

Sprouts are the new growth that emerges from a tree’s trunk or roots. They’re a normal part of a tree’s life cycle and can be left alone if you want to keep your tree healthy. When you see this happening to your tree, don’t prune the shoots right away, as they aid in food production and continue to care for your tree. Once your tree regains a healthy canopy, the shoots can be pruned. Sprouts can be removed with pruning shears or hand tools like loppers or clippers.

My tree has raised bumps on its leaves.

If you see tiny, raised bumps on your tree’s leaves, it’s likely that the plant tissue is growing abnormally. These are called galls and they can be caused by several different things. Sometimes insects lay their eggs in these areas and when the larvae hatch out of them, they feed off the tree’s tissues causing damage to its growth. Other times, environmental factors like wind or sun exposure cause this abnormal growth as well. Don’t try to address galls by spraying your tree with a chemical pesticide. The best way to keep a tree healthy is to ensure it gets the water, compost and mulch it needs to succeed.

We hope this article has helped you identify some of the more common spring tree concerns. If you still have concerns, it is best to have it inspected by a professional and we would be happy to help!

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