Q. A couple of
weeks ago I noticed that several trees on my property didn't look too
good, so I called a tree expert to come and examine them. She told me
that eight red pine trees that are lining the fence in my backyard
are diseased. She also told me that a blue spruce by the side of my
house appeared to be dehydrated. I have watered it every week, but
the top half of the tree is already dead, and the tree continues to
lose needles every day. I suspect that this tree is diseased, too.
Now I have just learned that the beautiful dogwood tree on my front
lawn has a disease which causes the lower branches to die first. I
planted all of these trees 17 years ago and up until last fall they
were all doing fine.
How could diseases strike almost every tree on my property at once
and is there anything I could have done to prevent it? More
importantly, should I go through all the expense to have the trees
removed and replaced, only to have my new trees contract a disease at
is a good question. You've already taken the first step by
consulting a professional arborist to see what the problem is. The
arborist can do a close-up inspection and assess the health of each
of your trees.
For anyone with trees on their property it's a good idea to have them
checked out every now and then. Oftentimes a problem can be averted
or prevented. An arborist knows what problems certain trees are prone
to and can treat problems such as insects and diseases if they're
caught early enough.
However, if it's too late and the tree is in such bad condition that
it can't be saved, in the interest of safety it would be in your best
interest to have the tree removed. Dead or dying trees pose a
significant threat to people and property. Any dead branches or dead
trees should be removed as soon as possible.
When the arborist identifies what killed your trees and if you decide
to replant with the same trees you will need to practice preventative
medicine to protect the new trees from whatever the problem was.
Each spring I check the trees and shrubs in the area and also ask
readers to give me lists of their plants that did not make it over
winter. Last winter there were many trees and shrubs that died,
including some that have never had problems before.
Droughts in years past have also contributed to stress on trees and
shrubs. Because the damage of winter and droughts and other factors
like diseases and insects is cumulative oftentimes the damage doesn't
show up on trees and shrubs for many years.