EVERGREEN ARBORIST: Care answers for tree owners

Local arborist Dennis Tompkins answers readers questions.

I have received calls regarding tree health, pest problems and neighbor’s trees in recent weeks. The following questions represent typical calls.

Q.

My neighbor wants me to cut my tree because it blocks his view, dumps needles on his roof and scares him during high winds. What should I do?

A.

First, attempt to maintain a friendly, reasonable and cool-headed relationship. Too many tree disputes arise when attitudes get in the way of level-headed discussions that could result in amicable solutions.

Second, try to figure out options that would address the concerns. Is the tree safe? A hazard evaluation by a certified professional may give it a clean bill of health or determine that some kind of risk should be addressed.

Third, if possible, both parties should reverse roles and then ask themselves how they would react to the other’s concerns. Is everyone being as reasonable as possible?

Fourth, figure out a compromise solution. Will some type of pruning help alleviate the problem? Or would the neighbor agree to help with the costs of removing the tree and planting new vegetation?

Unfortunately, attorneys sometime become involved, particularly if one party has taken unwise action and cut or damaged a neighbor’s tree without permission.

So, be cool and strive hard to arrive at a practical solution. It is much nicer to visit with a neighbor over the fence rather than across a table in an attorney’s office or courtroom.

Q.

What is causing the dead leaves in my cherry trees?

A.

The wet, cool spring was ideal for the development of many fungi. However, it is either too late to spray for most problems at this time. Details of the following diseases are visible on the WSU Cooperative Extension “hortsense” website.

The most common disease is the brown rot fungus on cherries and flowering plums. This is first noticed in the spring when blossoms seem to collapse or become limp, but do not fall off the tree. Small twigs and leaves that have been infected and died are now visible.

Most trees have minor infections that either can be ignored or treated by spraying the tree three times during the spring blossom season. Several fungicides are registered, so read labels carefully and follow the instructions.

Q.

Who shot at my tree?

A.

The holes in the leaves on several tree species may be caused by the “shot hole fungus” or Coryneum blight.

Initially small spots appear on the leaves in the spring. These infected spots often die and drop out, leaving tiny holes in the leaves.

A wide variety of fungicides can be applied at leaf fall in late autumn and again in the spring after flower petals have fallen.

Q.

What killed the tips on my Japanese maples and magnolias?

A.

There was considerable winter damage on some species where the outer tips of twigs were killed by cold temperatures. Regrowth will occur below the dead portions of twigs as new buds are formed.

For esthetic purposes, the dead portions can be cut out if practical. Growth will likely be normal next year.

Q.

What is causing the brown blotches on the leaves of my dogwood, maple, willow and other trees?

A.

Several fungi may be involved. The most common is likely anthracnose. The leaves may turn brown, wither up and premature leaf drop may occur. Again several fungicides are registered and must be applied in the early spring to protect the new leaf growth. A bacterial leaf blight has attacked various species of willows. Fall applications of fungicides are recommended.

Q.

My tree just looks sick. What is the problem?

A.

If you inquire at a Master Gardener clinic or with some type of professional, be prepared to answer several questions.

First, what kind of a tree is it? What does the damage look like? When did you first notice it? Do you see any tiny insects on the leaves? Is the problem occurring on one tree or several similar trees?

Ideally, bring a sample to a Master Gardener clinic near you. An infected branch should have healthy and diseased tissue on it. Or you can contact a professional and request a visit your yard to observe the tree.

Remember, the more information and samples you can furnish, the more likely you are to have a proper diagnosis made.

Dennis Tompkins is a certified arborist, certified hazard tree risk assessor and Master Gardener from the Bonney Lake-Sumner area. He provides small tree pruning, pest diagnosis, hazardous tree evaluations, tree appraisals and other services for homeowners and businesses. Contact him at 253 863-7469 or e-mail at dlt@blarg.net. Website: evergreen-arborist.com.

 

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