Stress is a Tree Killer
Note to media editors: This is the ISU Extension Garden Column for the week of Oct. 26, 2007.

Tivon Feeley
Extension Forester
Iowa State University Extension

Every year in Iowa, ornamental woody plants, trees and shrubs die without showing any glaring and obvious causes. In addition, insects and diseases cause their share of decline and mortality in trees.

Trees, people, stress and the results of stress are somewhat similar. In some cases, if the trees are stressed or if they have been wounded (a major cause of tree stress), they may be more susceptible to damage caused by insects and diseases. (See attached table.)

Stresses in trees may be caused by natural factors and conditions or through the activities of man or animals. These factors may be chronic (recurring and lasting for a long time) or acute (immediate impact). Examples of chronic damage are wet soils caused by site selection, soil compaction or poor nutrition. Acute damage includes flooding, freezing conditions, severe construction damage and deer browsing.

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