A tree is a great asset to own, but can a half-dead tree be saved?
Aside from giving an appealing look to the environment, it also serves as shade for plants and humans.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to tell if the tree is dying.
Reviving a dying tree is not easy, but sometimes it can be saved.
What Would a Tree Be Dying?
Trees can die for various reasons, from insufficient or too much water, sun, or soil quality to compete with other plants, insect infestations, lightning strikes, wind damage, fire damage, and disease.
Knowing the cause of death can help prevent it from happening again.
Trees may be particularly vulnerable to death if planted at the wrong time of year and/or in the wrong habitat.
Additionally, planting in an area with poor soil quality can reduce the tree’s chances of survival.
It is also important to be aware of the particular needs of the species of tree you are trying to cultivate and to provide the right conditions for it to thrive.
If a tree is not getting enough water, its leaves may curl and become brittle, and they may fall prematurely, making it more susceptible to disease and insect infestations.
Too much sun can also dry out a tree, and trees exposed to high heat or cold can be damaged.
To ensure the best possible conditions for a tree to survive, it is best to plant it in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate.
How To Revive a Half-Dead Tree
1. Look Out for Early Signs
When a tree is dying, it shows some signs; hence, you must look out for these signs and understand them properly.
Things like loose or falling bark, leaning, and a significant presence of scanty or unhealthy leaves can be danger signs to look out for.
Sometimes, it might be challenging to pinpoint some of these signs; In some cases, you can employ a professional arborist’s service to evaluate your tree.
The professional arborist has the knowledge and expertise to identify the causes and outline the necessary solutions.
2. Develop the Habit of Watering
Lack of water can make a tree die prematurely, especially if it’s very young.
On the other hand, watering the tree too often can make a young plant die in no time.
If the latter is your case, spot the water logging area and devise a way to drain the water. To spot the water-logging area, check for places where the root is soft and soaked with water.
Once you detect the area, try to expose it to more sun or seek other alternatives to get the water out.
But if you think underwatering is responsible for your tree’s ‘almost-dead’ condition, you can place a hose beneath it.
Leave the hose under the tree overnight; do this every 14 days. You can also opt for an automated watering system to water your tree.
3. Invest in the Right Fertilizer
Applying fertilizer to a tree makes it grow faster, but before buying fertilizer, take some soil samples around the tree and conduct some simple soil tests.
Look for the nutrient (both micro and macro) deficiency in the soil.
With the result in mind, this should form your basis for picking a specific fertilizer.
Regardless of the type of fertilizer bought, ensure it is rich in potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
You can also prepare your organic fertilizer, but never use a diseased plant.
Also, don’t apply too much fertilizer.
Using too much fertilizer increases the populations of unwanted microorganisms and bugs, which might harm the plant’s growth.
Do not add the fertilizer directly to a tree’s root; sprinkle it gently.
Adding it directly may result in the burning of the roots.
4. Prune the Unhealthy or Dead Part of the Tree
Pruning a tree can sometimes be difficult because one is unsure how far the rot or disease has spread.
It is best to focus on the visible parts that the rot has affected; pruning those parts will terminate the spread of the disease or rot to other healthy parts.
To prune, you need tools like shears, knives, or saw.
Before pruning, ensure you sterilize the equipment.
Sterilizing them before pruning will prevent the introduction of new microorganisms that might further contaminate the plant. Also, sterilize the equipment after pruning.
Pruning techniques differ with tree varieties; you may need to employ a professional arborist to help you avoid putting your tree to shock.
5. Add Enough Mulch
Though adding mulch to a tree is helpful, it can also be harmful if not added correctly.
It might further contribute to the woes of the tree.
Tree roots need sufficient air and breathing space; adding too much mulch might suffocate them.
Once the root cannot breathe properly, it will start harboring some harmful micro-organisms, making the tree begin to decay.
Do it lightly if you want to add mulch to the tree’s root.
Disperse the mulch in a way that it will aggregate into one part.
6. Check the Soil pH
The improper soil pH could lead to a tree’s death; plants like evergreens are deeply affected by the soil’s pH.
The good news is it can be tweaked to satisfy the individual tree requirements.
To do this, take soil samples and examine them.
If the soil is too acidic, you can reduce the pH by adding aluminum sulfate or sulfur.
Add lime to the ground if the soil is too acidic; this helps elevate its pH. With this, the tree will get back to the growth path.
7. Apply Insecticide
The addition of insecticide works best after pruning a tree.
Adding fungicide to a tree helps kill the insects or pests that might later feast and damage the tree.
To effectively revive your half-dead tree, it is best to contact a professional arborist.
Even though it’s not easy, if you follow the steps mentioned above, you can bring that almost-dead tree back to life!