What’s Wrong with my Tree?

Trees and Shrubs

The trees and shrubs on your commercial property can be incredibly valuable. They add aesthetic appeal while also serving important purposes such as offering shade to sit under or reducing the wind on your property. Trees can also play a valuable role in shading buildings and reducing energy costs.

With the value that trees bring, the last thing that you want is for one or more of them to succumb to a problem. 

If you have one or more trees on your commercial property that suddenly seem to be experiencing problems, you might be wondering what’s wrong. Trees and shrubs can be subject to a number of potential problems and figuring out exactly what’s wrong will be key to your success in keeping them healthy. 

The Importance of the Diagnosis

Just like a doctor needs to diagnose a medical or health concern prior to starting treatment, you need to make sure that your tree problems are appropriately diagnosed so that the correct solution (or solutions) can be implemented. Different trees and shrubs can have different problems so hiring a professional who can get to the bottom of what’s going on is important. 

Let’s look at some of the signs that a tree or shrub on your property is experiencing a problem. All of these are common symptoms—and cause for concern.

Foliage that Looks “Chewed”

Any time that you are dealing with leaves that look like they’ve been munched upon, chances are, you’re dealing with a pest problem. Holes might be irregular or have jagged edges if it’s a pest that feeds upon the entire leaf. Sucking insects poke tiny holes in leaves and draw the plant juice out them. Some pests leave behind the “skeleton” of the leaf. The damage occurred is often an indicator as to what kind of pest that you’re dealing with.

Seeing Spots

Spots can be the result of pest or disease problems. While white spots are often a sign of an insect problem, yellow, black or brown spots on foliage tend to indicate a fungal disease. Unfortunately, leaf spot diseases can impair the tree’s natural photosynthesis process and eventually lead to the loss of leaves if not treated. Certain leaf spot diseases are more serious than others.

A large number of white spots on twigs, branches, and leaves, on the other hand, is sometimes actually an infestation of thousands of miniscule white bugs called “scale.” There are many different types of scale insects.

Sticky Substances

Another sign of tree and shrub problems is the emergence of a sticky substance on your tree. If you see a trail of ants climbing your crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), they may be on a treasure hunt for a sweet treat called “honeydew.” Their pals, the aphids, make this honeydew, which the ants prize so much that they’re willing to protect the aphids like bodyguards to ensure a steady supply of treats. This is particularly a problem in Crape Myrtle trees. If you spot an army of ants, they could be hunting for honeydew. 

Lack of Color or “Yellowing”

If your foliage is becoming discolored or dull—or it’s beginning to yellow—then there are several causes to consider. It could be receiving either too much or too little water. It could also be struggling with a soil fertility issue—failing to get all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Of course, diseases and pests can cause yellowing as well. This one will have to be diagnosed by a professional to be sure.

Bark Problems

While the foliage often gets all of the attention, you should pay attention to potential symptoms in the bark as well. If you spot holes in the bark, you might have a problem with a wood-boring insect that needs to be addressed. Sawdust coming out of these holes is another telltale sign. 

Guidance in the Best Solution

This is just a sampling of some of the potential problems that you might see in your trees and shrubs. Others might include premature leaf drop, shriveling foliage, lack of overall performance (or growth), or other discoloration problems. Certain fungal infections also manifest with growths such as white cottony masses. And some insects leave behind webbing or other telltale signs of their presence. A professional can help you to determine exactly what is going on—but more importantly, how to deal with it.

At Carruther’s Landscape Management, we are here for your tree and shrub needs. We can implement solutions at the first sign of a problem—before the damage is a serious issue. Even better, we’re able to prevent a lot of these problems in the first place! 

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