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Detailed within this page is our advice for the maintenance of healthy trees. Throughout the year the tree care advice will change to represent the relevant seasons, therefore if you have any trees, please bookmark this page and refer back throughout the year. Further information including diseases will be shown here.

Summer Months

Drought and Trees:

Prolonged periods of dry weather, or low rainfall such as we have experienced over the last few months can have a long term effect on the health of trees. Although until recently we have not had much hot weather it has been very dry in East Anglia with subnormal levels of rainfall. Lack of water greatly reduces the tree's ability to manufacture food, which weakens the tree and limits future growth. Moisture stress also increases the tree's susceptibility to harmful insects and disease pests that would not normally affect a healthy plant. Long-term drought eventually leads to branch dieback and tree decline.

Here are some tips to stop trees suffering from drought and to help them recover:

1) Irrigation
A thorough watering of the dry soil beneath trees and shrubs to a depth of 30cm during prolonged dry periods. Watering through late summer into early autumn is critical. Water stress can inhibit the manufacture of key plant growth regulations that control dormancy. This could increase the chance of winter damage. A drip system or soaker hose is a good way of doing this as it will irrigate only in the root area and reduce water running off.

2) Mulching
The mulching of trees and shrubs with woodchips provides many healthy benefits. The mulch conserves solid moisture in the summer and insulates in the winter. Another benefits is that it improves the physical condition of the soil. Woodchips should be applied around the base of newly planted trees to a depth of 2-4 inches, but avoiding contact with the stem.

3) Soil Decompaction / Aeration and Feeding
Compacted solid can be very detrimental to the tree's ability to gather moisture, oxygen and essential nutrients and trace elements. The answer is to bring in a Terravent machine which involves de-compacting the soil with nitrogen gas, which improves air circulation to the feeding roots, and at the same time mycorrhizae inoculants stimulate root development and the absorption efficiency of those roots. These can also be missed into and applied with liquid ferilizers.

4) Pruning
The removal of any dead, dying or damaged branches can reduce any pest and disease problems. On some trees that have suffered over a period of time a distinct dieback of the crown can be seen. This can be pruned back to suitable growing points which may encourage new growth. Trees with very close crowns can be selectively thinned which will reduce the demand for water and nutrients. This should only be carried out by experienced professionals as extensive pruning could have an adverse affect.

5) Inspection and Monitoring of your tree
Finally if you are at all in doubt about the condition of your tree, call in a professional. Suffolk Tree Services Ltd are able to inspect and report upon the condition of your tree and if necessary regularly monitor its condition. Trees that have suffered from lack of water can become stressed and susceptible to other diseases and pests that you may not be aware of.

Phytophthora ramorum

A threat to our trees, woodlands and heathlands

What is it and where is it found?

Phytophthora ramorum is a serious fungal pathogen causing damage to trees and a range of native plants in California and Oregon, USA. In North America it is now also affecting a range of ornamental plants in many US states and in Canada. In Europe, it has been found in many countries including the UK; here it is mainly affecting ornamental in nurseries but has also been found on a few individual trees and some established plantings of various shrub hosts (mainly rhododendron) in a limited number of countries.

The first finding in the UK was in spring 2002 on container-grown viburnum plants in a nursery; findings on rhododendron and several other hosts have followed since.

For further information, please go to


Top Tips for Healthy Trees

Here are some tips that will enable you to carry out a quick health check of your trees. Starting at the base of the tree your inspection should go as follows;

  1. Is there any damage around the base of the tree, look particularly for cavities or holes, exposed roots that are maybe being damaged. Are any of the roots beginning to lift on one side? Is there any fungus or decay around the base of the tree or the stem? Some species of fungus will only appear in late summer / autumn.
  2. Are there any wounds or cavities in the main stem? Are there any areas of dead bark or exposed inner wood where the bark has been damaged? Look up at the more major branches of the tree to see if any of the larger branches have any damage.
  3. Are there any hanging branches in the canopy, look carefully for any split limbs or dead and decaying branches. Look for decay at any points of previous surgery or limb removal. Do any of the branches cross each other or rub on each other in the wind?
  4. Are the leaves in good health? Look for branches lacking foliage or with a colour that does not match the rest of the tree. Look at the tips of the canopy for branches lacking leaves as this can indicate root problems.
  5. Is the whole tree balanced in form or is it leaning to one side? Often trees can be shaped to bring back a symmetrical form.

If you suffer with light conditions at ground level due to shade cast by a tree, or if a tree if too large for your garden, tree surgery such as crown thinning can help with this problem. Tree thinning can also be carried out to improve its proportion to suit areas within your garden.

By removing dead, diseased or crossing branches, the health of a tree will be improved. However, remember to check that tree preservation order restrictions do not apply.

Tree info