What Your Trees Are Trying to Tell You

What Your Trees Are Trying to Tell You

We know our trees need water, but what happens when they get too much? If you experienced excessive rainfall during late summer, your trees may need some attention.

Since trees’ roots absorb water and oxygen, too much water in the roots may cut off the oxygen supply. This can lead your trees down a path to fungal disease or infection.

This time of year, be aware of the early signs of fungal diseases in your trees. Are you wondering what those signs may be?

Read below for fungal disease-related questions from Jessica Walliser and Doug Oster, co-hosts of Pittsburgh’s KDKA NewsRadio 1020’s segment “Talking Trees.” In this week’s edition of “Talking Trees,” which airs every other Sunday at 7:30 a.m. EST, Todd Sherbondy, district manager of Davey’s East Pittsburgh tree services, shares facts and figures about the fungal diseases to watch for in early fall.

DO: We had a good rain last night, but we were just talking about how all of this rain could affect the trees. Is that right?

TS: We will see a lot of fungal infections.  A lot of trees are dropping leaves this time of year, and bacterial infections and fire blight in pear trees are making a lot of fruit trees really struggle.

DO: What can we do about fire blight?

TS: There isn’t a whole lot you can do. Pruning is not recommended this time of year because of the risk of infection affecting other branches.

JW: What kind of trees besides pear trees do we see fire blight on? The tip of the branch turns almost black and the leaves turn black. So, what’s supposed to be done about that?

“Jessica
Pictured left to right: Jessica Walliser, Todd Sherbondy, Doug Oster

TS: The best thing to do would be to prune in dormancy; that way you’re not infecting other branches. We typically don’t recommend fertilizer. This is a cyclical disease--it occurs from time to time. A lot of times, this disease is not severe enough to actually kill off the tree, but it may kill a portion of the crown. Typically, it’s not something that can overwhelm the tree, but in some cases, it can.

JW: What kind of trees are you seeing fungal issues with?

TS: Everything right now, including oak and maple.

DO: If we are having a lot of leaf drop right now, is that pretty indicative of a fungal issue?

TS: Everything is dropping this time of year--it’s because of the excessive rainfall--and we are seeing those fungal issues. Typically, there isn’t much we can recommend to do, but you can monitor to see if there are issues with the root systems, such as potentially girdling roots that could cut off the nutrients to the tree. We recommend early season leaf applications time of year.

DO: I had two large trees that had to be taken down. Can I use the chip from my trees as mulch around other trees or a veggie garden? How thick should I apply?

TS: I think it’s a great idea to reuse and set it back into the garden. We would recommend letting the wood chips sit for a period of time to reduce the level of acidity in them because they can cause burning on other plants. Maybe 2 to 3 inches thick. Let the wood sit six months to a year and stir them.

Suspect a fungal disease has infected your trees? Davey can help inspect and treat them. Contact your local, professionally trained Davey arborist for a free consultation.

Add a comment:
Featured or Related Blog Posts
  • Under Our Umbrella

    Just the other day, I was attending a professional dinner meeting, so I traded my usual work clothes and boots for a simple dress and heels. And just as I arrived at the restaurant, it started to rain … and I don't mean just pitter-patter, pitter-patter. It was the start of what was soon to be a great, big thunderstorm. I stepped out of my car and prepared to run for it, and, wouldn't you know, my first step was into a giant puddle. Needless to say, I was squishing around in my heels with soggy toes for the rest of the night. 

    The latest wet weather has left many wringing out their wet socks in search of higher and drier land. It's not a good feeling to be constantly wet - so wet you feel you'll never get dry. If you're in one of these regions with above average rainfall right now, you know this feeling. Now imagine how your trees must feel.

    Constant rain, storms and flood watches have us all protecting our socks with good shoes, strategically avoiding puddles and cleaning our gutters so our homes and toes stay dry. But what about our plants and trees? Those poor perennials and conifers, particularly those placed in low areas, are left to tough it out, stuck in the muck. Driving through my neighborhood, I've seen more than one tree surrounded by a large puddle of water that looks like it's not draining anytime soon.

    Read More
  • The Difference Between Promoting Proper Plant Health Care and a Misdiagnosis

    Diagnosis is an important step in discovering which tree and plant pests, diseases and other problems are affecting your landscape’s health and beauty. So, what makes a plant material sample good and helpful vs. not-so-helpful?

    Davey’s Debbie Miller, senior diagnostician and plant pathologist at the Davey Institute, discusses what she looks for in a good plant sample. Here are Miller’s 7 Steps to Collecting a Good Tree Sample:

    Step 1: Contact an Arborist for Help. If you see shrub or tree leaf spots or discoloration, bark splitting, or other signs of disease and insect infestation, contact your local professionally trained arborist to investigate your plant. The arborist will either diagnose the problem on the spot or send in a proper sample to the lab for further tests and treatment options.

    Read More
  • Davey Tunes in to Talk EAB Advice on Air

    Haven’t you heard? This summer, Davey is broadcasting tree care tips live on Sunday mornings. If you’re in search for tree care advice, then turn no further than Pittsburgh’s KDKA, NewsRadio 1020 station every other Sunday for tree care tips and tricks. At 7:30 a.m. EST throughout this summer and fall, listeners can hear Davey district managers on “Talking Trees” to learn about different tree care topics for homeowners. Discussions include emerald ash borer emergence, how to plant a tree and ways to prepare trees for dangerous summer storms.

    In a recent segment, Ron Hegner, district manager at Davey’s North Pittsburgh office, appeared on “Talking Trees” to share information about the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB).

    He talked to listeners about how to protect trees from EAB infestations, how to care for trees that have already been affected and the ultimate fate of the ash trees. Here’s a deeper look into his conversation with KDKA radio.

    Read More
  • What You Should be Thinking When Planting a Tree

    Summer is winding down. Can you believe it?

    For some regions, the high temperatures many of us typically expect to experience in July and August rarely made appearances this season. Yet, it’s already time to start thinking about fall planting, as temperatures will only continue to gradually decrease.

    Now that it’s nearly one of the best times of the year to plant a tree, it’s important to know how and why you should plant the right tree in the right place.

    Read More

Request a consultation

What do you need services for?
Sorry, we can’t seem to find the zip code you specified. Our residential tree care offices may not service your area. If you believe this is an error, please try again. Need help? Email us at info@davey.com.
  • Email newsletter
  • Woodchips
*Please fill out all required fields.