Category: Trees

What’s killing the oak trees?


Q. In 22 years I’ve had more than a dozen oaks die because of a grub or larvae. Symptoms: First the leaves die and turn brown at the top of the tree. It slowly spreads down the tree until all the leaves are brown and have fallen off. Then the bark begins to peel away from the trunk, and then it falls off pieces at a time. You can see where it cuts off the […]

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December Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check houseplant leaves for brown, dry edges, which indicates too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants or using pebble trays. Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts. Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move […]


November Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) As houseplant growth slows, apply less fertilizer and water. If plants are dropping many leaves, move them closer to sunny exposures, such as west- and south-facing windows. Artificial lights may be needed to supplement particularly dark rooms. Pot spring-flowering bulbs with tips exposed to force into bloom indoors. Moisten soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks. Transfer to a cool, sunny location, and allow an additional three to four weeks […]


Remove errant branches to save ‘weird’ tree


Q: Please don’t think I’m totally crazy, but I couldn’t get anyone around here to answer this question and I thought someone at Purdue could. I have two trees in my backyard that are growing branches that are completely different from the rest of the trees. It is NOT another tree coming up under them, which is what most people tell me. Am I correct in guessing this is a cultivar that went wrong? Do we […]


When lightning strikes, is the tree out?


When lightning strikes a tree, it will most certainly leave a calling card, but it can be difficult to predict whether that injury is strike one, two or three. There are many variables to consider, including the species, moisture content, relative health of the tree at the time of the strike, and the intensity of the strike. Lightning can strike just about anything tall, but trees do seem to be a frequent target. And the […]


Ornamental Pear Fallout


Q: I’ve attached pictures of the only tree we have on our property. Because it is our only tree, I am deeply concerned with the possibilities of irreparable damage to it. As you can see, one of the branches broke off during a November windstorm. Unfortunately, that left a bare gap on the trunk. Please let me know how to treat this damaged area so no further damage is done to it and tell me […]

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Please Don’t Top Your Trees


Topping a tree is an all-too-common practice among homeowners, particularly when their trees become too tall and pose a possible threat to the house or overhead power lines. Some have the trees topped because they believe, or are led to believe, that topping is a good pruning practice. Some situations obviously require the removal of large limbs for the sake of safety. But topping is a drastic step that ultimately endangers the tree’s life. Removing […]


In The Grow Question and Answer – High winds can be tough on trees


Q. Can you tell me what kind of tree this is? They were planted near our community lake 25 years ago. K.M., Indianapolis A. This is a honey locust tree, known botanically as Gleditsia triacanthos. The species is native to the eastern US. It has large seed pods and trunks that are armed with wicked thorns. Fortunately, most plants sold for landscape specimens are cultivars that are both seedless and thornless. But even these improved […]

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Blue spruce not a great choice for Hoosiers


Q: We have 5.5 acres with several hundred white pines, 7 blue spruce, and 2 red pines. Several of the blue spruce are dying. Several years ago, two started dying from the bottom up. We put evergreen spikes around them, and after a year or so they came back to normal. Presently some of the large ones are now dying from the bottom to the top. We put spikes around two large and one small, […]


Gaping wounds likely a woodpecker’s work


Q. I saw these holes in my tree and am wondering what they are from. This tree is the only one I have seen them on. – M.S., Chesterton Some species of woodpeckers cause large holes in tree trunks. A. The holes are likely from woodpecker injury, but the tree may have some other issues. Has the tree been in a state of decline for a while? Perhaps branch dieback, leaf drop or other symptoms? […]

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