Tree Advice


Hello plant lovers,

My name is Cheryl and I was hoping to get your expert advice on how to help my precious tree. My husband and I were married under it and it doesn’t seem to be doing well this last year. It’s not leafing and seems very dry. I have another of the same species I believe which has died sadly. I’m not sure what species this tree is either. We are in Oshawa, Ontario. The soil seems on the dry side. It gets a ton of sun at the top of our hill so I am thinking a lot of the water drains away.

Can you help?! It means a lot to me to get this guy healthy again.

Thank you so much. I’ve included images.



From your photograph it isn’t possible to determine the species of tree, but it is readily apparent that it is under severe stress and experiencing quite extensive die-back. The fact that it has not properly leafed out this year is the biggest concern – trees need to fully leaf out in order to complete their yearly cycle and provide energy to the roots for storage over the dormant winter period.   Are the small, thin branches in the photo growing out of the trunk?  If so, these, known as epicormic shoots, are another sign your tree is experiencing stress.

It is quite possible that the site of your tree, on top of a dry hill where precipitation has run off, has contributed to its inability to thrive.  Experts recommend that you provide a circular mulched area around the base of the tree, rather than grass or other plant material, so that organic materials can be easily added to the soil to increase soil nutrients, and water is more easily retained.  In your case, since this tree holds so much meaning, we would recommend a call to an arborist who will be able to give you a better sense of the likelihood that this tree can be nursed back to health.  You can find arborists in your area by visiting the Landscape Ontario website: