“ I’m Not Dead Yet !”
Have you ever looked at a leafless (possibly Not lifeless) tree and wondered if it’s truly dead ?Many trees have faced down a chainsaw wishing they could cry out “ I’m Not Dead Yet” like a scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail - only to be removed before their prime. Be aware that some trees can appear as if to play Possum shortly after being planted.
After being planted and suffering some shock from being wrestled into the ground, some trees can show signs of being dead or dying by browning or dropping leaves. This reaction may not happen immediately but when it does, don’t be hasty with the axe. A common way of determining the health of a tree with questionable lifeless appearance is by using your thumb nail or small blade, lightly scratch the thin surface bark of a few small branches. If the result is a visible thin green layer that is appears moist (Not dry) just below the bark, there is hope. To give your tree a fighting chance to produce leaves in the spring (or sooner) here are a few tips that
Watering : Water the tree with at least 1” of water a week after planting.
Mulch: Make sure there is about 2” of natural mulch spread evenly around the base of the tree.
Pruning: Don’t be afraid to consider taking off a few tree branches at the right time for the species of trees within the first few years. Check out Pruning Practices in Detail - below for more information.
Proper Planting: Check below the ground . The tree may have been planted too low or high, it may be suffering from a lack of air to the roots or a lack of soil contact to the roots in the hole that was dug for it. In a worst case scenario where the tree was not planted properly, you might have to replant. Davey Tree has some in-depth helpful hints in “ Check the Planting of a Tree”.