Every year we have to prune something in the garden. Somewhere the shoots have died, somewhere the whole branch has died. Some seasons it happens that an entire tree dies overnight. It’s frustrating and brings additional stress and worry. But when you’re gardening, you should be aware that plants are prone to disease. And in some cases, they can and should be helped, while in others you should be prepared to replace them with new seedlings or even choose a new variety. There are many causes of dry fruit trees. All of them are not unambiguous. In this article, we will study with the website thumbgarden.com what is related to the phenomenon of drying fruit trees.
Why Do Young Seedlings Dry Out?
The death of seedlings is often related to poor quality planting material or the wrong choice of planting date. Young trees dry out because their root systems have dried out and failed to provide the plants with sufficient water and nutrients after planting.
There are also recommendations for planting times for different climate zones. For example, in the south, the best time to plant fruit trees is in the fall. In the north, it is spring. Why?
In southern climates, spring often comes so suddenly that young seedlings simply do not have enough soil moisture to root and develop their above-ground parts. The heat dries out their crowns faster than their young roots can deliver water to the vegetative parts. Warm, long fall days give the roots time to root and sprout and even grow in size before frost.
In colder climates, fall planting is dangerous. Often, seedlings planted in the fall do not have enough time to take root before they freeze and die. On the other hand, spring gradually arrives and provides the best conditions for young fruit trees to take root.
Sometimes we buy young seedlings in good condition, but we ourselves destroy the planting material by improper transportation or storage. In such cases, dried plants also fail to take root and die.
In addition, seedlings sometimes show bacterial contamination of the roots. Therefore, you should check the root system carefully when you buy it and abandon the purchase if you find black spots or rotten areas on the roots. If you plant it, the plant will not die, but the branches will keep dying and it will not be able to fully form and reach its potential.
Trees whose roots were already wrapped around the shaft when planted will also shrink over time. The trunk will gradually thicken, but once its diameter reaches the diameter of the root ring, the tree will be severely stressed and begin to shrink. First on one side, then it dies out completely.
When transplanting mature trees, the plant may dry out because the size of the root system does not match the crown of the tree. For this reason, nurseries specialize in shaping the balance between the root system and the canopy. When replanting mature plants on their own property, gardeners often forget to shorten the branches, which is why the root system is simply not up to the task.
Sometimes, young seedlings die due to very deep bark damage. For example, when working with pruners in the plot. Often sloppy pruners don’t even realize they have hit the trunk of a young tree. Bark can also be damaged by rodents – mice and rabbits. This happens most often in the winter.
Causes of Dryness in Mature Trees
Mature trees can also be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these can cause long-term branch death, others can cause rapid death of the entire plant. Non-infectious causes include the following.
One of the most common causes of branch dryness is frost heaving in winter. Low temperatures damage the tips of less lignified shoots, preventing the buds from waking up and growing in the spring. Low temperatures can also damage the bark, bark, and wood of tree trunks and scaffold branches. As a result, frost-shattered cracks appear on scaffold branches and stumps.
Damage also occurs when daily temperatures fluctuate suddenly in late winter and early spring – when the bark is heated by the bright sun during the day, thaws, and freezes again at night. In this case, irregularly shaped patches of light from on the southwest and south sides of the trunk. In spring, the flower buds on the damaged trees lag behind. And in summer, sluggish growth and drying of shoots are observed. By the end of the summer, the bark cracks and falls off and the wood dies.
Sometimes, the root system is completely frozen. In this case, they dry out in early summer.
High groundwater table
In this case, crown drying starts at the top, and at the tips of the shoots. Trees with high rootstocks are the first to die. In this case, the plant can grow and develop fully in the first years, and only when its root system reaches the water table, do some roots start to die and experience hypoxia.
It can also happen that the water table rises after irrigation work is done near the garden. Well-developed older trees can die with it.
Salinization of the soil
This phenomenon is caused by irrigating plots with salty water. Excessive salinity can cause root death. Crown drying starts from the top, as in high water levels.
Insects are usually the cause of dry branches and often the death of young seedlings or even mature trees. Once inside the plant, they feed on the wood. And such woodworms are quite numerous. They can be found in butterflies, flies, beetles, and hymenopterans. Both adults and larvae can cause damage. In most cases, the pests damage already weakened trees, but often even perfectly healthy ones.
Unsuitable growing conditions
Trees sometimes shrink due to changes in the chemical or mechanical components of the soil. They suffocate on wet, heavy soils. They die due to nutrient deficiencies, for example on calcareous soils during periods of constant rainfall. They dry out due to lack of moisture or prolonged flooding, and they are poisoned by excessive amounts of chemicals in the soil and air. For example, if there is a gas leak, if a septic tank bursts if large amounts of fertilizer enter the soil.
In walnuts, this condition can be caused by depletion of flowering bells or overharvesting, where the number of generative shoots on the tree increases due to unfavorable conditions, damaging the asexually reproducing shoots that cannot fully form a crop and become exhausted and die.
It is also common for trees to die when soil levels change. In most cases, this happens during the construction and improvement of new plots, where people try to keep the plants that are already there. However, changes in soil levels – adding new layers of soil or removing existing layers to level the ground – can strongly compress crops and cause them to die.
Many different fungal diseases can also cause trees to dry out. These include black rot, bacterial bark cancer, CytoSport, moniliasis, coccidioidomycosis, gypsy spore disease, and bacterial diseases. Desiccation can be chronic or quite rapid.
How Can I Protect My Trees from Dry Up?
Tree Dry Up can and should be prevented. To do this, you should.
- Buy healthy planting materials.
- Plant seedlings at the right time, taking into account the local climatic conditions.
- Bleach the tree holes by taking over the lower part of the scaffold branches from autumn onwards – this will reduce the temperature difference in late winter and early spring and protect the holes from bark cracking.
- Preventative garden treatment for some critical fungal diseases.
- Remove and treat diseased leaves (source of reinfection).
- Sanitary pruning in spring, summer, and autumn to remove dead branches and 4 cm of healthy tissue.
- Use only sterilized gardening tools to work in the garden, especially when moving from one plant to another.
- If necessary, irrigate and amend the soil in a timely manner.
- If there are obvious signs of nutrient deficiency, apply by spraying on the leaves.
- If there is a risk of waterlogging, drain the area.
- If necessary, plant trees on the hillside.
Dear reader The death of any tree in the garden is a disappointment and sorrow for the gardener. It is especially sad when a tree that has borne fruit dies. After all, it usually takes years to get the first harvest. We hope that all the trees in your garden escape this fate, but if you have even the slightest suspicion of a possible problem, please start dealing with it promptly.