How to Give Your Garden Trees a Health Check

Many people don’t realise that their trees aren’t healthy until it’s too late. By this point, that tree will be so deeply impacted by whatever may be causing its demise that bringing it back to life is futile.

The best way to ensure that all of your garden trees are healthy is by regularly performing a quick health check. Here’s how:


Check the Trunk

The first place to look is at a tree’s main trunk. This is what gives the tree height and stability, so it needs to be healthy.

Make sure that the bark on the trunk is intact. Everything from birds and deer to heavy storms could damage the bark or the trunk itself, which would mean that your tree will need some extra protection.


Check for Mushrooms

Mushrooms growing in the soil around your tree usually isn’t a problem, but if you notice mushrooms on the tree itself, then this is a huge warning sign. Keep in mind that mushrooms will only be visible at certain times of the year.

Mushrooms grow on rotting wood. If mushrooms are growing on your tree’s branches, you’ll need to bring an expert in to find out why your branches are dying from within.

If mushrooms are growing on the main trunk, then the tree would be considered unsafe.


Check the Leaves

The leaves of a tree will tell you a lot about a tree’s overall health.

Firstly, make sure that the colour of the leaves is appropriate for the time of year. Evergreen trees, such as the Dragon Tree, should always have green foliage.

If the leaves on your trees are yellowing, discoloured, or patchy, then this indicates a nutrient deficiency or a disease. You’ll need to look for other symptoms in order to diagnose the problem.

Make sure that the shape of your leaves is normal too. Anything irregular could again mean a nutrient deficiency or a disease, or even damage from pests.


Check for New Growth

This is a check that can only be done during a tree’s growing season, but make sure that you see signs of new growth.

Check the branches for new buds and stems, but don’t forget to take into account each tree’s individual growth rate. For example, the Tree Aloe will grow up to 30cm each year, meaning lots of visible new growth. On the other hand, the Grass Tree only grows between 1-2cm a year, so you’ll need to look a lot harder in order to find new growth.


Check the Roots

Roots are what give a tree life. While you may not be able to dig down and give the roots of your tree a health check, you can still take a look at surface roots.

Make sure that any visible roots look healthy, rather than diseased or damaged. Anything from digging animals to vehicles and machinery could damage tree roots that are near the surface, meaning that your tree will need some extra protection.

If you have any trees growing in pots, check the drainage holes of each pot. If you can see roots emerging from them, then it’s time to repot your tree.

It’s important to carry out a health check on your garden trees several times a year. Each season, you’ll be able to check your trees in different ways – it’s only once you’ve carried out regular health checks over the course of a full year that you’ll really be able to paint a picture of each tree’s overall health.


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