Dying honey locust

Asked June 6, 2016, 8:08 PM EDT

I have a honey locust tree that appears to be dying. last year i had a french drain run from my gutter and thought they may have cut a root when I had 1 branch loose it leaves, I used drip irrigation for 2 months before winter around the tree, This spring many more branches did not grow leaves. The bark on the tree has white spots all over the tree, my wife says it is from the wood peckers who use the tree allot each day as a landing spot before they use my suet feeder. Is the issue disease, woodpeckers or root damage??

Chisago County Minnesota

1 Response

Once an excellent lawn tree, honey locust has been greatly overused and has developed a number of disease and insect problems that have made it a short-lived tree in many areas. I am including a list of a few disease and insects’ problems of honey locust. Honey locusts are susceptible to Honey locust plant bug. Honey locust pod gall midge may distort leaflets. Nectria Canker, Tubercularia, and Thyronectria canker attack if bark is wounded or winter injury occurs. Honey locust borer (Agrilus difficilis) attacks large and small honey locust trees under stress. Adults are 1/2 inch elongated beetles, with a metallic, greenish-black abdomen with a distinct yellowish- white band on the sides. Adults feed on honey locust foliage. Females lay eggs that are covered with a frothy substance that hardens. The larvae bore into the trunks or branches causing sap to ooze at the site. The sap hardens into a mass of gum when it is exposed to air. Fully-grown larvae are flat and segmented. Repeated infestations gradually cause decline and dieback of twigs and branches in the crown.

Whenever there are dead branches in a tree's canopy it is recommended to prune them out to improve tree health and reduce and risk of them breaking and falling. Since the tree appear to be dying it is best to hire a professional arborist to inspect the tree.