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Dallas Morning News - April 22, 2021

Saving the Shade Trees


The Natural Organic Program works better in every way. It is easier, safer, better for the environment, more productive and saves money.


The one consistency of damage from the February arctic blast is "complete inconsistency." Plant damage ranges all over the map. My recommendations, however, are consistent.


Some of the shade trees are dead or dying. Others may not be completely killed but definitely have some damage, some severe. In my career there has never been a more appropriate time to apply the procedure called the Sick Tree Treatment. Dead trees can't be brought back to life but there are many damaged trees that can be helped. Use of the treatment isn't a waste of time or money even if the tree in question doesn't survive. The reason is that the soil will have been greatly improved for whatever plants are chosen to replace the deceased plants. On the other hand, there is a very good chance your trees can be saved.


Red oak freeze damage ranges small discolored leaves to major sections of the tree being bare


No guarantee of course, but some of the damaged trees still have a chance of coming out as the weather warms, even though there may be some dead parts of the canopy. On the other hand, some may go down hill as summer enters.


Red oaks have basically two symptoms. Some have smaller leaves than normal and in some cases are lighter in color. The other symptom is more dramatic. Spotty green foliage has emerged near the bottom of the canopy but the top two thirds of the tree is basically bare with swollen buds that haven't opened.


Live oaks show different symptoms completely. Trees that don't seem wounded have already completely defoliated and sprouted new leaves. Trees with damage are holding onto brown foliage. Trees where this has happened over the entire canopy are in serious trouble and need to have the treatment applied right away. Those with just spots of the clinging foliage are hurt, but there should limited dead limbs to be pruned away at some point.


Live oaks still holding brown leaves are damaged and will need at least some corrective pruning


Other various elms, oaks, ashes, maples and other varieties have ranging symptoms and reactions. Trying to treat for specific pests, diseases or mineral deficiencies is not the right approach. The Sick Tree Treatment will address all the ailments and help relieve the stress in the trees. It should be done right away – sooner the better. Trimming dead limbs and sections away is not urgent. In fact it is probably best to wait until summer to be able to make sure what's dead and what's alive. Some trees will leaf out fully when hot weather arrives and some will punch out.


No, it's not a product. The procedure is to expose the tree's root flare by removing any soil, mulch and plantings covering the flare, aerate the root zone or drench with hydrogen peroxide and apply the same amendments I recommend for organic bed prep - compost, rock minerals and sugars. Details are under GUIDES on the homepage of





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