How To Remove A Diseased Tree

Tree diseases, particularly fungal pathogens, can kill a tree and then spread to other neighboring trees in your landscape. Some pathogens can even persist in the soil, which means they may infect any new trees that may be planted to replace the old one. The following guide can help you remove an infected tree without spreading the pathogens to other plants.

Sanitize The Tools

Any tools used to remove the tree, whether it's the clippers for trimming down branches or the saw that brought down the main trunk, should be sanitized after use so that the tools don't spread the pathogens to a new tree the next time they are used. You can sanitize your tools with either a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol. If you hired a tree service to remove the trees, insist that they sanitize their tools before trimming any more trees on your property.

Avoid Mulching the Tree

It's common practice to feed a removed tree through a wood chipper. Many homeowners then use the wood chips to mulch flower beds or around other trees. If your tree died of disease, then skip the mulching and instead have the tree service haul off the tree and all of its branches for disposal. Some pathogens can live in the wood chips, which means using them as mulch will just spread the disease.

Remove the Stump

Stumps can also sometimes harbor disease organisms. If this is the case, then stump grinding may simply result in a lot of sawdust that spreads the disease throughout your yard. Although more time consuming and difficult, it makes sense to have the stump dug out and removed if you have concerns about the spread of the disease pathogens.

Consider Soil Pasteurization

Certain pathogens, especially fungal ones, can persist in the soil even after the tree is removed. This can make it more difficult to replace the tree, since any new ones you plant may also fall to disease. Soil pasteurization uses heat to kill any pathogens that remain. You can attempt to do it yourself by covering the area with clear plastic during a period of hot, sunny days, a process called solarization. A tree service may also provide steam pasteurization services, which work much more quickly than the solar DIY method.

Contact tree removal services if you suspect one of your trees are suffering from a disease. They can verify what pathogens are affecting the tree so that the service can develop a removal plan that minimizes the spread of the disease.