This Buckeye tree died very suddenly. I take care of this family’s vacation...

Asked June 22, 2019, 2:20 PM EDT

This Buckeye tree died very suddenly. I take care of this family’s vacation property and last year was taking pictures of this tree in full bloom. This year it is completely dead. Is there any way to know what killed it and should I be concerned about it affecting other nearby plants?

Brown County Ohio

1 Response

Hi Brown County, What a mystery! I've ben in this situation before. My wife has told me to go to the tree and try to shake it. When I did, I found that the whole tree could be shaken because the roots were compromised. This was a tree that had grown to about five inches caliper at the ground. It suddenly started to die and look very bad and when I tried to take ahold of it and shake it, I found that I could easily wiggle it back and forth without too much effort. The place that it was growing was nothing but a heavy yellow clay that was fill and very poor drainage. The roots probably all rotted away, hence the ease of shaking the whole tree with few roots left healthy enough to hold the tree upright.

This is my guess on your situation. There may be other causes for sure but with the past fall and winter and spring with all the heavy rains, it just might have had too much water in the soil and compromised the roots. The only way to tell is to ask a Certified Arborist to drop by and take a look at the situation. It is a matter of detective work and asking a lot of questions about the plant and what has happened. Has something in the neighborhood changed to make the tree sit in a very wet spot -- spouting changed, a vehicle parked on top of the roots, vehicle fluids drain into the soil and kill the roots, somebody pour out something that killed the roots. I could go on and on. If you asked a Certified Arborist to stop by and take a look, you might be surprised at the answer to your question.

Again, I would ask a Certified Arborist to come take a look at the situation and see if an answer can be found. Don