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  • Writer's pictureLizé Groenewald

How healthy trees get sick.

Trees, like all living things, are vulnerable to disease and illness.

Pests, environmental stressors, and pathogens are just a few of the things that can make a tree show signs of illness.


Here is a list of some of the most common reasons:



1. Pests


Pests such as insects and animals can cause extensive damage to a tree. Some insects, such as beetles and borers, burrow into a tree's trunk and branches, causing damage and disrupting the flow of nutrients and water. Others, such as aphids and mites, feed on the leaves, discolouring them and weakening the tree.



Animals like deer and rodents can also cause damage by chewing on the bark, which can kill the tree.


2. Environmental stressors


Environmental factors can also play a role in a tree's ill health. Drought, for example, can cause trees to lose water faster than they can absorb it, resulting in wilting and even death. Similarly, soil compaction and poor drainage can deprive a tree's roots of oxygen and nutrients, weakening the tree and making it more susceptible to disease.


3. Pathogens


Pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses can infect a tree and make it sick. Pathogens attack the roots in some cases, while others affect the leaves or branches. In some cases, a tree can fight off the infection and recover, but in others, the disease is fatal.


4. Prevention

The best way to keep your trees healthy is to keep them healthy in the first place. Regular watering, fertilization, and pruning, among other things, can help keep your trees healthy and strong. It's also critical to keep an eye out for signs of pests and disease and to act quickly if any problems arise.


5. Treatment


If your tree becomes ill, there are several treatment options. To combat a fungal infection, for example, you may be able to remove infected branches or use fungicides. In some cases, however, removing the tree entirely may be the best course of action to prevent the disease from spreading to other trees in the area.



To summarize, there are numerous causes for healthy trees to become ill, including pests, environmental stressors, and pathogens. You can help prevent illness and keep your trees healthy and strong for years to come by taking good care of them and monitoring them on a regular basis. If your tree does become ill, there are treatment options to help save it or keep the disease from spreading to other trees in the area. If you currently have a problem, contact Overberg Arborists at +27 72 455 8345.


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