Typically, homeowners are under the impression that a recipe for a thriving tree is sunlight, good soil conditions, and water. 2018 has been a year of rain, with several severe storms, with most rain storms being heavy/saturating downpours. While watering plants and trees is key to their survival, and you may think these frequent downpours are great for the health of your tree, it may actually be the opposite. So, if you are wondering why is my tree dying – you may want to consider that all of this rain could be playing a part.
Most trees are not well adapted and do not do well in saturated soil conditions. With such heavy downpours happening quite often, the ground can become far too saturated for ideal survival of trees. In fact, a tree’s physiological makeup can be completely altered if it’s root environment is changed dramatically.
Soil saturation is defined as a condition in which all easily drained voids, or pores, between soil particles are temporarily or permanently filled with water.
How Saturated Soil Hurts Your Tree:
- Reduces the supply of oxygen to the tree’s roots
- Alters and raises the pH level in the soil
- Changes the rate of decomposition, weakening the tree
- A weakened tree is more susceptible to insects and diseases.
- Heavy rainfall can cause sediment movement & erosion.
Here’s Why The Answer To Your Question, Why Is My Tree Dying May Be Saturation Or Flooding From Rain:
- Once a tree’s soil has reached saturation, its metabolic process can begin to change, and quickly.
- Photosynthesis will shut down within 5 hours, leaving the tree starving.
- Water will move into all open spaces, including those that hold oxygen, essentially causing suffocation.
- Since decomposition of organic material is stunted due to lack of oxygen, trees will begin to produce and accumulate toxic gases like carbon monoxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide, etc.
- Root growth may decrease because roots can only develop when soil oxygen levels are at 5-15%.
- Overtime, decaying roots can be attacked by pests and disease.
If your tree is suffering from saturated soil due to increased rainfall, you may notice loss of leaves, overall dieback and browning, and root rot. Root rot typically occurs with warm soil that is full of water. Spring and summer is the time where trees are actively growing, which means that they need nutrients at a quicker rate, making over saturated soil during these months even more detrimental.
Of course, we cannot control the weather, but there are some things we can do to help, less than ideal soil conditions, due to increased rainfall.
- Soil Aeration – This will help to allow for better flow of oxygen, especially around the roots.
- Feeding – Adding additional nutrients to feed your soil can go a long way in reviving your soil, and in turn your tree.
- Treat & Prevent Disease – At Red Cedar, we use the most organic and least toxic means of treatment for tree pests and diseases. Not only do we understand how to go about treating curable diseases that your tree already has, but we can also help to prevent disease from happening in the first place.
- Structural Corrective Measures – Bracing and cabling are helpful in treating weakened areas and allowing them to regain strength. Soil heaving can occur when it has reached its rain limit and causes swelling. This may lead to lifting of the tree and its roots, creating weakened areas.
If you are wondering, why is my tree dying, and you suspect that it may be due to soil saturation, you should schedule an arborist evaluation. This will allow us to inspect the tree itself, and its soil conditions allowing us to first properly diagnosis your tree’s condition. Then once we determine what is going on with your tree, we can establish and implement the correct plan to revive your tree, if possible. If we determine that your soil is in fact not balanced and/or saturated, we can take steps to heal your tree. However, curing a tree after significant damage is done due to saturation is no easy feat, and will take time.
If your tree has been damaged beyond repair, we will recommend tree removal as the best option, but only after inspecting your tree and determining that this is the only option. We know that it is frustrating not being able to control the weather and what it could do to your trees, but you can control your care plan, and by being proactive you can positively impact your tree. Contact us today for your free consultation, and let us help answer and solve your question – why is my tree dying?