How to Save a Dying Tree


Authored by Sylvia Cochran in Gardening 
Published on 09-17-2009

When you notice that one of your trees suddenly seems to not bloom as others in the yard, or if it appears to be slow in developing any leaves, there may be serious problems afoot. Learning how to save a dying tree may buy this particular tree a new lease on life and keep seasoned wood in your yard.

Nourish the Tree

Ferreting out how to save a dying tree may be as simple as adding fertilizer. This is especially true if you are working with a fruit tree or an evergreen. Purchase a fertilizer that is made specifically for the species of tree in question; this is not the time to use all purpose fertilizer. Remove any vegetation from around the tree’s drip line; there is a good chance that these plants are actually stealing the minerals in the soil and leave the tree’s roots without the nourishment needed.

Make a number of holes around the tree’s drip line. They may be narrow, but should be about 40 inches deep. Fill these holes with fertilizer and spread soil over the tops of the holes and around the tree’s trunk. Water in the fertilizer slowly to avoid a runoff; this may take a bit of time, but is well worth the effort. You should see an improvement within a few short weeks.

Pest Control

Another lesson to consider — when learning how to save a dying tree — is pest control. Take a close look at the bark and leaves; if they show brown spots, discolorations and abandoned egg sacks, you know that you might have a pest problem on your hands. If you can identify the pest, purchase appropriate pest control chemicals or brew more environmentally friendly home made concoctions that will rid the tree of the insect. If you do not know what is causing the damage, take a leaf or bark sample to your local nursery and ask the advice of a professional.

Before applying any pest control solutions, prune the tree as much as possible to remove insects, larvae and eggs, and also to reduce the presence of damaged wood that might zap the tree’s strength. Once the tree is pruned back, apply pest control measures and follow up with a visual inspection after a week or two. You should be able to see a significant improvement.

Last But Not Least: Learn How to Save a Dying Tree by Watering It

A list of steps indicating how to save a dying tree would not be complete without pointing out that at times it is the lack of water that contributes to the overall malaise of the tree. If you are in a drought zone, consider using a root feeder needle attached to your watering hose to bring much needed moisture to the tree’s root system.

Check the soil around the tree. Soil that is hard packed, devoid of any vegetation, and crumbles easily when picked up showcases an overall lack of moisture. Supplementing water to the roots directly – especially when top soil watering simply leads to runoff – is a means of ensuring that the tree will receive sufficient water until the drought ends.


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