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Tree Health

Tree Health & Insect/Disease Issues

EmmaThe GTA has lately come under assault from several invading insects and diseases; as well our plant life has had to deal with some very dry summers and short winters of late. The above mentioned issues can cause a healthy tree to become stressed, and spiral a weak tree towards death.

Two of the hot topic issues affecting the GTA are the EMERALD ASH BORER (EAB) and DUTCH ELM DISEASE. Both your Ash and Elm trees should be closely monitored. Just recently the entire city of Toronto has become a quarantine site for all species of Ash trees. This is to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. Make sure your pruned or removed Ash tree is taken to the appropriate dumping facility or the material is kept on site. Ask us about Treeazin injections for the EAB.

All trees are susceptible to one form of insect/disease or another, and some species have little to no resistance. The below information helps create the best environment possible for an urban tree and will help keep it healthy and more apt to fight off stress. Remember most insects and diseases are opportunistic.

  • Do not over water. Once a week application (1″ of water) as opposed to a little every day, is best for most trees. Over watering is very common with irrigation systems and leads to several fungal diseases.
  • Mulch around the base of the tree (2″-4″ deep) as wide as you have room for, as this will keep moisture on the ground on hot days, and replenish organic matter back into the soil.
  • Proper planting techniques. This includes the correct soil structure, species selection, and planting depth. Make sure soil has a good mix of organic matter, sand and clay (triple mix). Don’t choose a delicate tree for a harsh area or vice versa. Make sure the root ball is not too deep as to bury some of the trunk in the ground. Do not apply mulch high up the trunk, as this will also cause the trunk to rot.
  • Fertilizer is important if the soil is void of nutrients, or under environmental stress. Trees should not be survived by fertilizer, and it is important to properly amend the soil. This is done by mulching, and mixing back in proper levels of organic matter, as well as breaking up the soil if it is compacted, to allow water and oxygen back in.
  • Proper pruning techniques. There are several aspects to pruning, from controlling tree size, thinning for better air circulation, removing dead and diseased wood, healthy structure, and pruning for the safety of those below.

The above information is just a start towards a long and healthy life for your trees. City trees need all the help we can give them. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have, and please check out the websites I have linked to my home page for some great information. Remember not everyone who calls themselves an Arborist, is trained in the latest science and techniques in the industry.