Tree disease and infestation can be caused by many factors. Trees that are stressed are much more likely to get sick or infested by insects or other predators. Stress factors include under watering, over watering, compacted soil, nutrient poor soil, infestation and improper pruning. All insects seek out susceptible hosts (sick trees/plants) to feed upon. Most trees that die prematurely have one or more of these problems that cause its final demise.
Proper care and preventative maintenance is key to the longevity and health of a tree. These things include skilled pruning, watering, and proper fertilizing is critical in maintaining good heath in your trees. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Trees immune systems release a pheromone when they are sick in order to combat problems. Unfortunately, this is like a beacon to hungry insects in the area. The severe downward spiral in the trees health (and appearance) often happens when more than one pest, condition or disease enters the tree. Healthy trees can fight one pest or disease but they struggle when attacked from multiple sources.
A typical scenario is that the tree becomes stressed by under watering over a period of time. Now the tree releases pheromones and aphids get the call and attack full force because the tree is weak. The tree has become so sick that it becomes infected by beetles that attack under the bark – finally killing the tree.
We often get calls for help long after the tree is very sick or even completely dead. As we mentioned earlier, the time to treat sick trees is early. Early treatment is often the only opportunity to reduce die back in the tree. A healthy tree can recover faster from these malaise, reducing the likelihood of other pest or disease entering the tree.
Most uneducated tree companies do not treat diseased or insect infested trees – they usually will just prune them with the standard trimming procedure. This not only is bad for the sick tree, but the blade or chainsaw spreads the disease throughout the tree and any other trees the blade comes into contact with. Only a skilled full service tree company should treat sick trees.