Are Your Evergreens Looking a Little “Off” Lately?
Written by: Keith Glaznap, Certified Arborist wI-0678A
Growing up at my parents’ house we did not have many evergreens, but the ones that we did have offered us countless hours of joy. Whether we were hiding in them during games of outdoor hide and seek, pretending we were in an “up north forest”, or maybe just staying dry during a brief summer rain shower my adventures with evergreens bring back fond memories.
While I am not playing much hide and seek these days I still love evergreens and all they have to offer. They provide sanctuary for a variety of wildlife, year round beauty and interest, privacy, and are extremely effective at blocking the wind. Over the past 25 years however, certain evergreen species have begun to suffer from a wide variety of ailments.
Just like any other tree, evergreens must be placed in an environment best suited for that particular species. Blue spruce trees are a perfect example of this. Blue spruce trees are native to the Rocky Mountains where they grow in cool meadows and along high mountain streams. The soils there are very light and the summer climate is cool and arid. On the other hand the soils in south east Wisconsin are primarily heavy clay. Our summers are hot, humid, and very rainy compared to the mountain areas where these trees grow naturally. This stark contrast from the blue spruces’ native environment is a recipe for stress and vulnerability to insects and diseases.
One of the most common ailments for our evergreens is a class of diseases generally referred to as “needle cast”. There are several species of needle cast fungi that can infect pines, spruces, or fir trees. These fungi cause the inner needles to fall off prematurely resulting in trees that appear thin and/or “sick”.
It is extremely important to catch needle cast diseases before they thin a tree too much. By the time an average home owner notices their evergreen is thinning, the disease has likely been present for at least three or even four years. The thinner a tree is, the longer it will take to fill back in with treatments. In some cases treatments may not be warranted as it could take years to realize any noticeable benefits.
If you have some important evergreens on your property I would strongly recommend that you contact your Wachtel Tree Science arborist today and request a review of their health. The timing for effectively treating evergreens this season is nearly here. Your arborist can help you to determine what species of evergreens that you have, their current condition, and what you can expect going forward. Their recommendations can help you get in front of these diseases before it’s too late.
Finally, if you are considering planting an evergreen nothing beats selecting the appropriate species and/or variety to begin with. This will be critical to your evergreens success and will ultimately help to save you money and potential heart ache down the road. Your Wachtel Tree Science arborist is well suited to help you with selecting the evergreen that’s right for your property. We can help to set appropriate expectations in addition to recommending the best tree or trees for each situation.
Whether your evergreens look a little off, they are looking healthy, or you are planning to plant some new ones, give us a call today! We can help you to make the best decisions for both you and your trees!