This is a great question that we as arborists get asked by members of the public with regularity. Suffice to say the answer isn’t always as easy as one may think. If all the leaves on your tree have dropped early, a large branch has broken or there’s a family of raccoons living rent free in the trunk; more than likely there is still some life in your tree. Rather than attempt to evaluate the health of your tree without getting a good look at it first, here is some insight into what makes trees tick. If you can keep these simple concepts in mind it might fill in the blanks to what should be a simple answer. The best analogy to use when discussing the health of trees is to think of them as human beings. We both have an immune system that protects us from diseases, we both rely on food and water to survive, and we can both be seriously damaged when struck by lightening. Take this tree that split in half and Regg from the Great Outdoors: 20 second clip When our food or water supply is lacking or our immune system is jeopardized, stress is often on the horizon. As the defense system begins to respond to which ever stress is at hand, it becomes exposed even more so to other stress factors. The combination of several stress factors occurring simultaneously increases the likelihood of decline or even tree failure. Just like people, trees need the proper care to keep them healthy strong. Remember to keep the root system watered, mulch near the base of the tree and lawn mowers far away from the root collars. After all, an ounce of prevention is with worth a pound of cure. And in the case of trees, it’s often easier to keep the tree healthy than it is to bring it back to life. Keith Curtis ISA Certification #MN4130-A Keith.Curtis@shadywoodtreeexperts.com Further reading: www.extension.purdue.edu › BP_37_W.pdf

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