Spring flowering bulbs generally need well-drained soil and do
best under deciduous trees. They will be rather short-lived
Large bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils,
should be planted 6 to 8 inches deep. Small bulbs are planted
about 4 inches deep. The rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a
depth equal to two to three times the height of the bulb. Plant
the bulb with the point up. It is a good idea to map the
location, or place a colored golf tee above the bulb. Then mulch
with 3 to 4 inches of mulch and water thoroughly after planting.
When the entire tree looks like it is dying, the injury,
disease or insect logically must be affecting the trunk or the
roots. These areas would cut off the water supply to the entire
tree. Look at the entire tree and compare it with nearby trees.
Also consider when the problem started and what changed on the
site about that same time. Healthy trees don't suddenly die
because they are old.
Many below-ground reasons may cause tree decline. Drought,
flooding, compaction of the root zone, poor soils, planting too
deeply, inadequate space for roots and many other things could
be involved. Often, diagnosing such a problem is a process of
elimination. One of the possibilities more difficult to
eliminate is root rot. Most gardeners believe that they cannot
possibly know the health of a mature tree's roots. Cankers on
the stems, stem tip dieback, off-color foliage, early fall color
and early defoliation are also clues that a tree may be stressed
by underground causes.
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To detect the wood rots and root rots, look for fungi that look like
mushrooms growing at the base of the tree or shrub. In wood rot
fungi, the conks -- also called shelf fungi or fruiting bodies --
may be found growing on the trunk or main branches. These are signs
of the disease. The actual fungus is probably growing in or on the
roots or inside the wood. One of the most common examples is
Ganoderma root rot, which produces a shelf-type fungal structure at
the base of many trees, especially honeylocust. The structure is
reddish-brown and appears to have been varnished. Its presence
indicates invasion by a root rot. Other fungi may indicate wood
rots. Wet weather often triggers the formation of these structures.
They could easily be confused with fungi growing on dead organic
debris near a tree. If, however, they are growing from the tree
itself, they are excellent signs of wood rot or root rot.
No chemicals help a tree in decline. Use approved cultural
practices, such as proper watering and fertilizing to improve
vitality. Cut out dead branches in the dormant season, fertilize in
late fall or early spring, and keep traffic off the root system. For
very old or large trees, fertilization and watering may have no
benefit, but these practices sometimes help the tree survive for
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]