Your Tree Has Died – How to Move On

What happens when your tree dies? This is one of the most common questions that we get as tree care professionals. It isn’t something that we like to think about – we like to see your trees stay healthy. However, everything has a season and so do trees. Trees that have passed away can be more than an eyesore in your yard – they can be unhealthy and lead the other trees to death at the same time.

So, what are your next steps?

The truth is that once your tree has died, you want to eliminate it from your yard and as quickly as possible.

4. Call a Tree Care Professional

  • Your tree might be saved
  • Proper removal is very important
  • Will make suggestions for other trees and natural life in your yard in some cases

According to the Tree Care Industry Association, you want to always have your tree inspected by a tree care professional if you think that it has died. This is important because we are able to perform an analysis on your trees to better understand why they died. Sometimes, it will just be because of old age. Other times, however, it is because of a disease or infestation. In these cases, you want to ensure that removal is treated properly and that the correct tools are used at all times.

Many tree care professionals are also able to help you remove stumps and the debris from your yard. We can also help you turn that tree into something new and beautiful – fire burning logs, decorative logs, or mulch.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take tall trees down by yourself as it can be extremely dangerous and can lead you to hurt yourself.

3. Check for Pest Infestations

  • One of the most common killers of trees today
  • Can spread to other trees or plant life in your yard and do the same things to them
  • Might require professional help of some kind – either pest management or tree care

If you have any kind of organic matter in your yard, there is a chance that you have pests of all kinds – from squirrels and birds to ants and sometimes even more sinister insects. Sometimes, the pests aren’t bad enough to really cause any problems and everything lives in harmony. This isn’t always the case, however. You might start to notice that your tree is slowly dying – or that it has died quickly. This is because the pests are feeding off of the tree, absorbing the water and nutrients they need to survive. However, in large numbers, this means that the tree can no longer survive.

According to Gardener’s Path, infestations can kill trees extremely quickly and sometimes you won’t get much or a warning, or any at all. This is because once they find a tree or organic structure that provides them with the nourishment or protection that they need, they tell their friends and everyone comes over for a party. Once the tree is dead or dying, it can no longer provide the sustenance that a larger colony of pests need to survive. Sometimes, it is even worse – these pests bring diseases and fungi with them, which can attack the tree from all sides and result in the death of the tree.

If your tree is dying or just doesn’t look healthy, look to see if there are insects or the remnants of insects or pests (holes, excrement, nests, or shells, to name a few). This means you have a huge problem and you should probably reach out to a professional of some sort – either a tree care professional or a pest management company. They will be able to make suggestions about what to do next to help save your tree.

2. Should You Replant?

  • First know why your tree died
  • You might not be able to plant the same thing
  • Consider branching out to something new

According to the Royal Horticulture Society, “Plants that have died of physical causes such as waterlogging, poor establishment or underwatering can be replaced with the same type of plant. Remedy any site problems such as poor drainage prior to replanting.

Plants that have been killed by a disease, in particular a soil borne disease (e.g. honey fungus, Phytophthora root rot or Verticillium wilt) or difficult to control foliage/stem disease (e.g. box blight) are best replaced with something that shows resistance. Lists of resistant plants or those not affected can be found on our advice pages of common garden plant diseases. Plants that suffer from replant disease (e.g. roses) should not be replaced with the same type of plant.”

After a tree has died, our first thoughts are often about how to replace the tree and get everything back to the status quo. If you know why your tree died, you will better be able to figure out what to do with that empty space in your garden – but you have to remember that trees take a long time to grow, so you will have to wait a while to get everything back.

1. Check for Root Rot

  • There may still be a chance for your tree
  • Wait if it has been a rainy season
  • Talk to a professional

If your tree has been otherwise healthy, there may be a chance for it yet.

According to Gardenerdy, “Sometimes, trees start dying due to root rot on account of over-watering. Water the tree only when the soil around it appears to be dry and fragmented. If there is a water-logging at the foot of the tree, make sure to devise a proper drainage system for the same. You may opt for removing soil from water-logged area and exposing the roots to fresh air for a few days.”

Instead of simply getting to work, allow your tree to stand for a few more weeks or months. Of course, you can only do this if your tree doesn’t have any pressing dangers or dead limbs. You might want to talk to a tree care professional to see if your tree has actually died.

There might be some hope after all – and that is all we can want.

If you are looking for a tree care professional in Richmond, give Ridgeline Tree Service a call today at (804) 378-2900. We will help you to better understand your trees and how to handle any issues.

Header photo courtesy of Eliza on Flickr!


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