Quick Tips for Tree Care Techs

Addressing lightning injury, fungal invasion in young landscapes, and potential issues with mature landscapes.

Lightning injury to trees. Examine the cambial area, roots and terminal growth. This can signify the extent of injury and if any further fertilization and watering should be done.

Plants capable of recovering should be treated as stressed trees. Remove damaged branches. Remove loose bark, and trim to healthy tissue. Fertilize with high rates of phosphorous to promote root growth as opposed to top growth. Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Young landscapes. Root injury on new transplants may provide sites for fungal invasion. Soils at the site may be contaminated with the fungus and invade the damaged roots of the new transplant. Soils where plants were grown may be infested with the organism, and root invasion likely took place on severed roots after digging.

Older landscapes. There are several things to keep in mind with respect to mature landscapes with larger plants:

  • Reduced plant vigor due to root competition may have allowed the fungus to invade roots.
  • The plant could have been invaded prior to any treatment program.
  • Previous weather conditions many have triggered invasion of the organism already in the soil.
  • Roots grew into contaminated soils.
  • Plant responded to second invasion by the organism. This can often be traced by looking at the dark, invaded vascular tissue on cross sections after removing the plant.

Use of contaminated wood chip mulches caused disease. However, wood chips that have been properly composted will be free of the organism.