A Sick Tree -- What Might Be Wrong and What Should You Do Next?

The first thing you need to accept about the sick tree in your garden is that not every tree can be saved. Additionally, there are some trees you can help yourself while others will require specialist assistance to get them back on their feet. If your tree has completely failed to bear leaves in spring, then the chances are it is probably beyond saving. If it's a tree that you love, you may want to check with a tree specialist before you remove it. However, if you're only just noticing changes in your tree, then there may still be something you can do to remedy the problem. Here are two things to look out for.

Study the Foliage

If you've noticed that your tree is not bearing its usual healthy green foliage, then it's likely that something is wrong. Leaves that turn yellow or brown are usually an indication that your tree's root's system has suffered damage. The most common reason for this is drought or flooding.

If you have experienced flooding, then keep a careful eye on your tree to look out for potential damage in the weeks that follow. If you notice changes in the foliage, prune any damaged limbs with clean cuts. Test the soil around the tree to make sure that the mineral levels are correct. Add nutrients to the soil to replace any missing nutrients.

For trees that have suffered damage from drought, you will need to set up a watering system to replenish the loss. Using a soaker hose, create a watering zone from 1 foot around the trunk extending to the outer limits of the trees' reach. Give your tree 10 gallons of water for every inch of the trunk's diameter. Repeat this process 2–3 times for each dry month.

Examine the Bark

If your tree's bark is oozing or bleeding, this can be a sign of a fungal infection or an insect infestation. Keep a close eye on your tree to see whether it heals itself, as a tree with a good immune system will recover on its own. If the cause of the problem is too severe, you may need to consult an arborist.

The arborist will inspect your tree and advise you on what can be done, such as spraying to remove insect infestation or management of a fungal infection. They'll also be able to tell you if your tree can't be helped.