We all love our trees; they provide us so many many benefits; increased air quality, increased property value, reduced utility costs, shade, habitat for birds and wildlife, and beauty. Unfortunately, tree problems may go unnoticed for a long while, and the window of opportunity to take action to help your tree can quickly narrow.
Diagnosing tree problems can be very challenging, but with some dedication and observation skills you can collect good clues and come up with ideas to narrow down what the problem may be.
You will be able to observe physical changes (what looks odd) in the tree, also known as symptoms. In some cases, evidence (a.k.a signs) of the culprit that is causing the symptoms may be present. The culprit may be an insect or a pathogen causing disease, keep in mind that the culprit can vary in size. Think of the fungal mushrooms as the billboard sized sign of problems, and the microscopic pathogen structures as the tiny signs that we cannot even see. This is why magnification and additional testing that the PIDC can provide is often needed to make an accurate diagnosis.
As spring approaches we look forward to deciduous trees leafing out and our conifers adding new needles. Looking at your trees often can mean spotting problems early when solutions may be available. Learn how to look at your trees with the eyes of a plant health professional. Check out our new edition of the publication Identifying Tree Problems available at the extension store to download for free.