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The Home Depot

Top 10 Serial Tree Killers

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > Top 10 Serial Tree Killers
Top 10 Serial Tree Killers

Trees are the kind of plants that should last a long time. When it is kept healthy and properly cared for, a tree can last for generations. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Large old trees can seem indestructible. But, it’s important to remember that there are lots of different things that can topple the biggest, oldest, most massive tree.


If you have some trees on your property that you’d like to see live for a long time, this guide will help you keep them from tumbling down. Read on for the top 10 serial tree killers.

  1. 1.Powerful winds

    Strong winds and powerful storms can cause major damage to your trees. Big storms can knock off branches or even cause a tree to come tumbling out of the ground entirely. Not only would you have one less tree, you could be putting yourself, your home and your neighbors in harm’s way.

  2. 2.Over watering

    Like most living things, trees need water to live. However, too much water can be big trouble for your trees. The amount of water each tree should receive depends on a lot of factors. You must consider the type of tree, type of soil, local rainfall amounts and even the amount and kind of other plants in the area. But, most experts agree that trees can be watered one or two times a week during a growing season. One sign that you are over watering your trees is that the leaves wilt or become discolored. If you notice excessive algae and mushroom growth at the base of the tree, that may be another sign that you may be overwatering your trees. Finally, if you notice that new shoots and branches aren’t growing, but instead wilting and dying, you may be providing your tree with too much water.

  3. 3.Under-watering

    Since trees depend on water so much to grow and thrive – not giving them enough of this life-giving stuff can cause serious damage. One sign that your trees are not getting enough water are wilted or dry leaves. If your trees suffer from dry, brittle branches, under watering could be the cause. Another sign is that the soil around your tree is very dry. Give your trees a good layer of mulch to help keep the earth surrounding them nice and damp.

  5. 4.Over-fertilizing

    Fertilizer helps plants grow by providing them with extra nutrients. Most fertilizers are comprised of three important nutrients: nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Make sure to give your tree the right mix of all three. You can get a soil test to determine what ratio would be best for your vegetation. Also, make sure that you use a “slow release” formula, because it’s much less likely to “shock” or damage the tree’s roots that way. When applying the fertilizer, make sure that it doesn’t touch leaves or stems, because that could damage the tree as well.

  6. 5.Root damage

    Roots help trees absorb nutrients and water. If the roots can’t do that properly, there is a big problem. Be on the lookout for roots that are growing toward utility lines or your home’s foundation. They can cause big problems there. You should also take special care with trees who’s roots appear to shallow. Many trees need deep roots to remain securely upright.

  7. 6.Pests

    There are lots of creepy crawlies out there that would love nothing more than to eat your tree for dinner (lunch and breakfast, too). It’s impossible to completely protect your trees from all pests. However, when you notice great numbers of them it’s time to take action. The kind of pests that you may face depends on where in the world you live and what kind of trees you have. “The control of insect and tree disease pests on trees often involves tree spraying,” the group, National Arborists, says on their website. “Tree trunk injections or soil injections can be done to control some insect and disease pests of trees, but the most common method used is tree spraying.” The group suggests having an arborist or tree service spray your trees, as opposed to doing it yourself. That’s because professionals are familiar with trees and the various things that can threaten their health.

  8. 7.Diseases

    There are so many different kinds of diseases that can affect trees. Many diseases are specific to certain kinds of trees. The best advice is to be knowledgeable about what kind of trees are on your property and what diseases they can be susceptible to. Keep an eye out for changes in the appearance of your trees. If you see any kind of discoloration, mold or markings, that may mean that something is wrong.

  10. 8.Ignorance

    There are so many different tress in the world. It’s important that you know as much about yours as possible. Know how much light and water it needs to thrive. Know how tall it’s expected to grow. If you’ve planted the tree yourself, ask the gardener or salespeople at the nursery where you made your purchase. If you got the tree as seeds, there may have been information printed on the side of the packet – don’t just throw that out, read it. Enlist the help of a good tree service to provide backup care.

  11. 9.Neglect

    You may think that once they plant the tree, you’re done. That’s not true. The tree needs a steady diet of water and nutrients year-round to thrive. Also, small trees often need stakes to help keep them upright. Keep the area around your tree free of weeds and vermin that could harm it.

  12. 10.Bad weather

    Bad weather can topple even the biggest, strongest trees. Heavy winds can uproot trees and ice and snow can weigh down branches. You can’t exactly shelter your tree from a storm, but you can make sure to prune it regularly to get rid of dead, dry branches. You can also make sure the roots are strong and firmly rooted in good healthy soil.

  13. It’s easy to forget that trees are living things. Take care of your trees and they will be around to provide you with shade and oxygen for generations to come.

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