Predictions Revealed: Diagnostic Forecast for 2020
Written by: By Tony Arnoldi, Board-Certified Master Arborist WI-0102B
Spring is a very welcome sight! Life returning to the land makes all things a little better. Now our attention turns to the stewardship of that life (at least the trees and shrubs that adorn our part of the world and beautify our lives).
Looking back at 2019, several events shaped the growth responses and the issues that trees needed to deal with. These include:
- The Polar Vortex of the winter of 2018 – 2019. Some trees experienced damage from the cold temperatures and stressed many trees.
- The continual spring rains that extended through summer and resumed in fall. The wet foliage often caused fungal and bacterial diseases.
- Wet soil for most of the year stressed roots because it kept oxygen levels in the soil low. Diminished root systems resulted from roots drowning and subsequently attacked by root rot fungi.
- A silver lining in all this was that virtually no trees suffered from lack of water, and many in well-drained locations grew well!
And now I ponder the predictions for 2020. It is good to know that there are answers for most of the tree issues. These are the things to be aware of in 2020:
- Another Polar Vortex happened shortly after the Halloween snow. I am still waiting to see how this will manifest, but half-hardy plants may have some dead branches to prune out and possibly some fertilization may help recovery.
- Fungal diseases of evergreen needles that started last year are going to continue. Fungicide spray programs will need to protect new growth that is soon to start.
- Fungal leaf spot diseases such as Apple Scab on crabapples and Rust on hawthorns will be evident. The trees not on a spray program last year were heavily impacted without protection and looked bad. But the good news is that this spring brings a whole new crop of leaves that can look fresh all year when treatment is in place!
- Fireblight is a bacterial disease of crabapples, apples, pears and serviceberry that kills branches and has been prevalent for more than 3 years now. Careful pruning and treatment can help to stop this progression if it hasn’t advanced too far.
- Root Rots that began last year will continue, especially if the weather stays wet. There are a few treatments that can help mitigate this and help the trees recover
- Viburnum Leaf Beetle is a new insect that has spread throughout our area. It eats rapidly in early May and needs to be watched for – it can be stopped by a timely and targeted application when the larvae emerge.
Team up with your Wachtel Tree Science Certified Arborist to help assess your trees. Together we can sort out and prioritize the help that is needed for them to be the most beautiful they can be! Living among healthy trees is a benefit we can achieve.