Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Is My Evergreen Dead? - Thomas deHaas

Many times, a homeowner wants to try and save a dying evergreen. It may be providing privacy or screening from an unwanted view.








But is trying to save an evergreen worthwhile or cost effective?


Evergreens serve a great purpose in the landscape. Due to their nature, they provide a year-round green backdrop for other landscaping plants or feature.








They also provide an evergreen screen.







When evergreens show signs of decline, people want to save them. But is this even practical?


In most cases, an evergreen that shows serious decline has reached the point of no return.







In that case, it is probably better to cut down the trees, or if small, just pull them out.








So why do evergreens die?


Evergreens by nature prefer a moist, well-drained soil.


If planted in a high mound lacking moisture, they will die from drought stress.








If planted in a low area, they will decline due to excessive moisture.







Transplant stress can also be an issue. Most evergreens should not be transplanted mid-summer.








The exception is container grown stock. But in this case, watering is extremely critical and should be done daily. Balled and Burlap evergreens do best when dug in the spring while still dormant and planted before the heat of the summer. They can also be dug successfully in the fall after the new foliage hardens off.


But if you disturb the root system during peak growing season, death will be sure to follow.








Another common question is when an evergreen is blown over during a storm. If the ground is saturated, and high winds occur, evergreen trees can blow over on its side.







The question, “If I stand the tree up and stake it, will it survive?” In most cases, for larger trees, the answer is no. It is better to remove. In the case of younger or newly planted trees, they should always be staked until roots develop and knit into the soil.


Finally, why do some evergreens die and not others?


In the case of Colorado Blue Spruce, trees can suffer drought stress. They are also prone to a fungal infection call Rhizosphera. Infected trees will begin to decline from the ground up. Aeration is helpful by removing lower branches. In addition, fungicides can be sprayed in the spring to protect new growth. But in most cases, treating a 30’ tree can be difficult and costly.







In the case of Austrian Pine, they can suffer from 2 fungal diseases, Diplodia Tip Blight which effects whole branches and Dothistroma needle blight which can cause tip death. Both are common in older Austrian Pine and typically result in decline and eventual death.







So, can my evergreen be saved? In most cases, it is an uphill battle. But if you do remove an evergreen, it is always best to determine the cause of death and refrain from planting the same Genus and species in the same location.

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