Many of us live in homes which have at least one or two trees in our gardens – trees are so important for the environment, most 4 year olds will even be able to tell you that. So it’s a wonder why we often don’t consider their health when working on our gardens.
Having beautiful trees in our back and front gardens has so many benefits. Besides the obvious reasons to create oxygen for the environment and provide us with shade (which is much needed during the hot summer months here in Australia), they also provide safe animal habitats and nourishment for birds and small animals. They can also help protect us from wind – anyone who has experienced Perth’s Fremantle Doctor will appreciate a windbreak from large trees! Trees can also help to stabilise the ground which is necessary for any ground with structures on them (but keep an eye on any roots getting too close to your home).
It’s not always easy to see when a tree is becoming affected by disease, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for. Many Australian’s choose citrus trees for the gardens as they are fairly hardy trees and provide us with delicious fruit which can often be expensive to buy. Keep an eye on your citrus trees for any holes that may appear – this could be a wood borer. If you spot the hole fairly quickly and there are only a few holes, you can try inserting a metal skewer or wire into the hole to get rid of the borer. However if the tree is covered in holes, you may be better off calling a tree removalist and having the tree removed as trees can rarely recover from an infestation of borers.
Did you know that trees can be iron deficient? This can be picked up easily, for example in orange trees if the tree has yellowy coloured leaves with veins of dark green. It’s more common to appear in soils that are alkaline but it can be easily treated with iron chelates which is administered as a spray. Don’t forget to remove any other foliage or creeper plants around the base of the tree before spraying the roots.
This article is written by Gary Dickie, Gary has worked as an arborist and tree surgeon for more than 30 years. He owns and operates Dickies Trees a family run business, he is passionate about gardening, and loves to keep his trees in top condition.