Preventing & Controlling Abiotic Tree Disorders in Minnesota

There are two types of tree disorders. Disorders caused by living things such as insects, bacteria, fungi, and animals are called biotic. Conditions caused by non-living things, such as drought, physical injury, or extreme cold, are referred to as “abiotic.” Our ISA Certified Arborists can correctly identify and provide treatment options for abiotic disorders commonly found in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro.

Abiotic disorders, such as drought stress, often impact several plant types in one area; whereas living organisms, such as pests and diseases, will target one species. Our experts use a comprehensive approach to diagnose and treat current tree health issues and prevent future problems. Schedule a consultation today with one of our arborists to evaluate your trees for abiotic disorders!

yellow leaves from drought next to green leaves on tree
air spade breaking up compacted soil around base of young tree with wheelbarrow next to technician

What can you expect from our abiotic tree disorder services?

First, one of our tree care experts will examine your landscape and properly diagnose common plant health issues, including abiotic disorders, on your property. Biotic and abiotic factors often contribute to tree problems, and treatments won’t do any good if the root causes aren’t addressed. To properly treat abiotic disorders, one of our experts will determine all of the factors contributing to the problem. For example, a tree that is stressed from growing in poor soil may become infested with a pest. Both issues must be treated for the tree to recover and thrive. 

The treatment needed for an abiotic condition can vary greatly and is determined by many factors, including the species, location, and the current health of your tree. Some of the treatments used for treating abiotic disorders include:

  • Testing soil and fertilizing accordingly
  • Collecting and testing samples to identify and treat pests or diseases
  • Diagnosing and treating any additional insect or disease issues 
  • Aerating compacted soil with an air tool to “fluff” it without damaging roots
  • Pruning to help a tree recover from damage caused by storms, road salt, or extreme temperatures

Why choose the experts from Rainbow Treecare?

We are Minnesota’s premier licensed and insured tree experts. With over 45 ISA Certified Arborists on staff, we are highly skilled in assessing and performing the services that enhance the health and longevity of your trees. Many factors contribute to a tree’s overall health, including site-specific concerns such as nutrient levels or compacted soil. Our tree experts will address the bigger picture to provide the best treatment outcomes. Additionally, one of our core values is safety. You can rest easy knowing our team will perform all services while taking every precaution to keep our staff, bystanders, and your property safe.

Additional frequently asked questions about abiotic disorders

Improper tree choice for your zone or location, improper planting, root issues, and poor soil are the most common causes of abiotic disorders. A major symptom to look for is stress throughout the entire canopy and a lack of visible insects or disease. Specific abiotic disorders include the following:

  • Girdling roots, where improper planting led to roots growing tightly around the tree, effectively choking it
  • Compacted soil from foot traffic or construction activity, which negatively impacts tree roots
  • Root damage caused by construction
  • Stress caused by poor planting location and insufficient soil for the tree to grow
  • Physical damage from storms, mower impact, or road salt
  • Prolonged overwatering or drought
  • Poor soil conditions, including a lack of soil nutrients
  • Extreme temperatures

The most effective way to prevent abiotic tree problems is to choose the best trees for your yard and plant them properly. Following proper tree care methods, including watering and fertilization, is also essential. Other prevention tips include:

  • Prune your trees regularly to provide a strong structure and address physical damage from storms or other causes
  • Prevent root and soil issues through proper planting
  • Adequately plan when planting a new tree for branches to grow above ground, as well as roots below
  • Follow our best practices on tree planting to avoid planting too deeply
  • Never dig in the root zone, as this will damage tree roots
  • Protect the root zone during construction to avoid compacting the soil
  • Never “volcano mulch” by piling mulch against the tree’s trunk, where the long-term moisture can cause the bark to rot
  • Salt damage can be prevented by wrapping trees and shrubs in burlap, leaving air space between the fabric and the leaves.
  • Nutrient deficiencies can be avoided using correctly installed mulch rings and compost to provide a long-term source of readily available nutrients.

When a tree is planted incorrectly or not allowed adequate root space, there is a potential for some roots to start growing around the trunk of the tree instead of fanning outward. As the tree grows, the roots gradually get tighter around the tree’s trunk, preventing the flow of water and nutrients absorbed by the roots from moving up into the woody and leafy parts of the tree. This girdles (chokes) the tree, causing it to die. This problem is best diagnosed by one of our certified arborists, who can assess girdling roots and determine if they can be treated.

Schedule your service today!

chlorosis in red oak leaves

Why Are My Leaves Yellow?

While you expect leaves to change colors in the fall, a tree with yellow leaves in the summer may indicate a health problem known as Chlorosis. Trees most commonly impacted by chlorosis include white oak, red maple, pin oak, river birch and white pine.

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