Some trees across the Ozarks are dying, changing to fall colors

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Weeks of rain and then overwhelming heat has taken a bit of a toll on our trees.

“Living in the Ozarks is, if you don’t like the weather today, hang around and it’ll be different tomorrow,” said Noel Boyer of All About Trees in Springfield.

Living here, you have likely experienced that more than once, but it’s not just stressful for you. It can cause issues for your tress and plants as well.

”This is the time of the year when it gets real hot when you will start to see trees that are in distress for various reasons,” Boyer said. “It could be the climate, but also we see a lot of trees with root problems or soil problems too.”

And after overwhelming temperatures last week, some trees are experiencing heat and drought stress.

”If you look around town right now, you’ll start to see some trees that are already going to fall color,” Boyer said. “And usually, that’s a stress indicator that tree is saying to itself, ‘I’m in trouble, I don’t have enough resources to hang on for the rest of the season. So I’m going to go ahead and shut her down early.’ ”

But weather is not the only thing impacting trees. Summertime bugs are as well. If you see little black spots like on your leaves, it could be from insects.

”I can promise you that tree has aphids feeding on it, and it does,” Boyer said. “And, you know also right next to us here is an ash tree that’s dying.”

Boyer said ash trees all across the country are dying these days.

“We’ve got emerald ash borer that is confirmed to have been here for three or four years, but we speculate it’s been probably more like six or seven years,” Boyer said. “So pretty much every week now we’re removing quite a few dying ash trees. And lots of them are completely dead. And that is a pest that is going to end up taking pretty much all the ash trees in Springfield and possibly nationally as it continues to migrate.”

While some of these problems come about in cycles, there are some things you can do if you notice any of these issues in your own yard.

“If you see that the ground is powdery and dry all around, and we haven’t had any rain here for a couple of weeks, it certainly never hurts to go put an oscillating sprinkler underneath there,” Boyer said. ”If you do have a tree that needs water badly, just put a sprinkler out in the root zone of it instead of, you know, a hose trickling against the trunk of the tree.”

As for those bugs, call a certified arborist.

“If you do have a really valuable ash tree, if it’s one that’s exceptionally big or nice, or the focal point of your landscaping, there is an injection that we can do where we do a systemic treatment to the tree,” Boyer said. “And it is fairly effective at preventing the emerald ash borer from killing the tree.”

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