Root rot can be a major concern for some trees in the home landscape. The problem with root issues is that they are often overlooked until the problem has become too severe to treat. Overly moist and compacted soil is the main cause of rot. Symptoms include the slow decline of the tree's crown, with leaves yellowing and dying off. Fungal issues may begin to plague the tree, or you may notice mushrooms sprouting from the root zone or lower trunk.
1. Open Up the Soil
Root rot is most common in heavy clay soils, but any soil that is over-saturated with moisture can pose a risk. Even dry soil can cause issues, especially if water tends to pool up near the surface instead of soaking in deeply. Your tree service can carefully aerate the soil around the tree each year, which improves drainage. Top-dressing the area with compost and organic matter can further help drainage.
2. Mulch Carefully
Mulching is generally good for trees, as it decreases weed competition, keeps moisture in the soil, and insulates the roots against fluctuating temperatures. It can also lead to trapped excess moisture and increase rot concerns. You may need to pull the mulch back from the root zone in exceptionally damp, cool weather so that the soil can dry more quickly. Mulch should never rest against the trunk, either, as this can cause rot in the bark and provide a way for fungal pathogens to make their way into the tree.
3. Irrigate Appropriately
Water management for trees can be challenging. Watering the nearby lawn may not provide sufficient moisture, or the moisture may not penetrate deeply enough to help the tree. Over-watering, though, leads to root rot. If providing the right amount of water is a challenge, consider using a moisture reader to determine the tree's water needs. Your tree service can provide guidance on what moisture level to maintain, and how much water is needed to do so, so that you can avoid over-irrigation that leads to root rot.
4. Consider Fungicides
Some types of root rot pathogens, such as the phytophthora disease that attacks apple tree roots, can be treated with biological controls and pesticides. Your tree service can let you know if there are known rot-causing fungi in your area and if any of your trees are at risk. If they are, fungicide application or the use of biological controls may be a good idea.
Contact a tree company in your area such as KC Tree Service to learn more about preventing root rot and keeping your landscape trees healthy.Share
9 May 2023
Elm, ash, walnut, maple, apple — these are all gorgeous trees, but they all have their own preferences in terms of care. Maple trees, for example, need to be pruned later in the season once their sap has begun flowing. Elm trees should be pruned in winter when insects aren't around in order to protect them from the emerald ash borer. A good tree care company will treat each of your trees as individuals, customizing care to their own specific needs. Still, it's important that you, as the tree owner, understand those needs, too. Read the articles on your website, and you'll soon have a pretty good grasps on the basics of tree care.