So you would hope the company that removes more dead pine tree's in Tucson, Arizona than anyone would have some good tips on why your Pine Tree is Dying. I will attempt to help you on this issue and hope that we can help you save your pine tree.
Years ago when I was a little younger in my knowledge, and experience.(and age) I removed a dead pine tree for a very nice lady. I had already cut near 100 dead pine tree's at that time and knew a little. i explained that beetles most likely attacked the tree, and when the crane brought the tree down I showed her rings of holes in branches that indicated Larvae exiting the tree. She told me at that time that the U of A arborist previously had told her that there were no pine beetles in Tucson and that it was most assuredly RUSH an illness killing the tree and she needed to water it aggressively and it would come back. Being young in experience I did not want to pick a fight with an arborist with such a title, so i went on with my career. Since then I have had run in's with poorly taught students claiming the knowledge of a U of A Horticulturist. Education at times needs to be supported with those of us in the real field seeing the problems. With that said, I have many blogs that Journal our company's journey and encourage reading them.
The bottom line is this when it comes to your dying pine tree in Tucson, AZ. We are in a drought. Pine tree's need massive amounts of water and are one of the few tree's that if the outer ends of the roots stop finding moisture, the whole root can die.
If you are a huge follower of ours you know that the base problem with all tree's under attack from Micro organism's and going into decline is Hydration! Pests such as Borers and beetles will pass healthy trees fully hydrated and go to struggling trees. So overall our problem can be solved by properly watering our trees.
How do we do this? Well water in the ground any way is ok. A friend in Winterhaven who we recently mulched a tree for and has a struggling Pine stood with me as we looked at a pine a few feet away with grass planted all around it that was really healthy. Why? Because the watering of the grass daily helped the pine. It was once said that Conifer's like there toes in the water, not there feet. So don't drown your tree. Allow evaporation to take place a couple of days in between watering.
How can you save your pine tree? Well I will give you some sound advice. I am not a U of A Arborist but I will not steer you wrong, what I tell you is what I do and recommend often out of love for tree's.
1. Do not do Tree Trimming of dead. read our other blogs on tree compartmentalizing to understand.
2. Build a well. Simply build up a ridge of dirt approx 5 feet outside the diameter of the trunk in a circle. Do not use dirt close to the tree as changing elevation of grade can hurt the tree.
3. Mulch tree inside the well. This will release food into the soil and trap moisture along with aerating the soil as the organic material breaks down.
4. Fertilize. Water in the fertilizer well, but remember 90% of a tree's roots our in the top 12 inches of soil. I have seen the most massive tree's go over in monsoons and the depth of the root ball under the tree is often 3 feet at most.
5. Water your tree all spring and fall. DO NOT WATER IN MONSOONS AS TREE MAY TIP OVER. Watering plan is simple with hose. Trickle well overnight (8hrs) and allow a soaking of the well. Allow to dry in between. Watering overnight 2X a week should do. DO NOT USE DRIP IRRIGATION. Tree's spring growth is derived from fall nutrition so do not get discouraged with little results in first year.
Being one of Tucson's top Arborist and having a successful Tree Service company I have heard the argument of weakening due to watering this area. The alternative is Tree Removal. Back Surgery or Cut your back out? Tree Service in Tucson is different than what is taught in the textbooks. Our rocky soil does not let even the most experienced Tree Service Arborist can get fertilizer and activators around rocks to the small fibrous roots of tree's in Tucson.
Recently I followed another Certified Arborist who did his Tree Service plan of mulch and feed. The result was the lady calling me a year later to give and estimate for Tree Removal. Tree Trimming can not be performed on a sick tree, and Textbook Tree Service feeding is for different area's. Very simply you can not do a soil sample on a rock. :)
I hope this helps. We at TRST are Environmentally conscious and recycle everything as firewood in the Tucson market or allow Fairfax to chip and compost all green debris. This blog was written in good faith as I so a massive problem on the horizon as equal to the freeze we had. If this drought continues 10's of thousands of pines will die in Tucson. Lets all do our part to save this important part of our environment! As always we are here to help with any Tree Service you may need.