The landscape Plum tree in the photo above is showing many signs of stress. It doesn't have many leaves overall and few leaves on the top.  

Stress Factors for trees?

They don't have emotional stress as humans do. But they do get stressed. How?
1. Current conditions: Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. Poor access to sunshine. Flooding or standing water. Drought. Other conditions.  Some combination of these.
2. Multiple-season or Multi-year additive factors:  For example: drought followed by extreme cold winter or a cold spring followed by extreme heat in summer. A series of big storms. Also lightning hits, splitting, etc.
3. Human Interferences:
  • Transplant damage to roots.
  • Planted too deep.
  • “Volcano” mulching.
  • Piling soil anywhere under drip-zone.
  • Construction/dig around base.
  • Parking cars under trees.
  • Changes in land level/topography.
  • Improper pruning.
  • Bands left on trunk.
  • Compacted soil.
  • Removing leaves.
  • Hit by car.
  • Abuses like carving, topping.
  • Road salt.
  • Local or regional pollution of soil, air, or water.
  • Inappropriate or excess use of any product (such as harsh fertilizers or protective sprays)
    or invasive techniques (air spading, harsh pruning).

What  Can You Do?

Once a tree or plant is sick, adding fertilizer usually only adds stress. A sick tree likely has poor inner circulation and can't take up the fertilizer. So adding it may burn the roots (adding more stress).

Test your soil with kits or by sending a sample to your state university’s plant health center.


Ask for proof of their claims or advice. Seek alternatives such as pruning back a tree that is too close to the house.  

Get multiple quotes.

Don’t be afraid to ask whether they are personally profiting from their recommendation to cut down a tree.

Bring in a specialist called a "Professional Consulting Arborist" who has good reviews and who loves trees.


  • WATER YOUR TREES DURING DROUGHT OR EXTREME HEAT!! They may have outgrown their area.  Water deep and long.
  • Research!  Plant the right tree in the right place.  
  • Use CARE when transplanting not to damage roots. Plant AT soil level, do not pile extra soil on top of root ball.  Water often.
  • Do NOT add soil, new plantings, or stone planters around an existing tree; it smothers roots.
  • Use a sprinkling of mulch, don’t pile it up at the base.
  • For construction, install plastic fencing at the drip-line so that they don’t dig, pile materials, or park under under trees.
  • After construction, do NOT regrade the soil over the roots.  Short walls can hold back soil.
  • Don’t install bricks, stone, or walkways under trees.
  • Avoid “topping” trees & road salt.
  • REMOVE BANDS OR TIES--they strangle fluid flows under bark.
  • Protect young trees but don’t tie anything to them.
  • LEAVE leaves; they have natural fertilizer and beneficials. Shred them for winter. Avoid blowers.
  • Learn proper pruning techniques or hire a sensitive professional who knows how to ASK THE TREE where best to prune.


  • Follow packaging directions if you are going to use chemicals.
  • Seek true organic alternatives.
  • Using your intuition and connection experiences with the trees, ASK THE TREE about its life: Don’t assume professionals or you already know best.  Don’t tolerate other’s impulsive advice or assumptions. Consult Nature’s innate wisdom to find out what IT says is best for the tree or ecosystem. Take your time to breathe and BE with the living Being. Trust yourself. Use your intuition. Feel the Life Force in the living Being.
  • ALLOW ECOSYSTEM MEMBERS TO LIVE-AND-LET-LIVE. Don’t be quick to kill.  Healthy trees and plants can live in dynamic balance with other organisms. Learn about EcoPeace Treaties®.
  • JOIN OR LEAD efforts to reverse local or regional pollution of soil, air, or water.
  • DOING LESS is usually best.  Mature trees rarely want fertilizer.
  • If removing, respect and honor the life of the Green Being.
  • GIVE LOVE.  Loving your trees and ecosystem members helps!

Consider BioBalia Nature InterPlay™

Find out more about BioBalia Nature InterPlay, an innovative way to develop a "friendship" with trees and plants of all kinds at

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Sep 11, 2022
Why and How to Partner
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