I was talking with my team of fellow data collectors at Trees Atlanta about how doing that project changed the way we look at trees. We all agreed that it made us evaluate trees much more closely everywhere we went.
In our data collection for Trees Atlanta, we measured trees that had been planted within the last five years. We checked their trunk size in a couple of places and we looked to see if their leaves had chlorosis (were turning yellow). We also looked to see how much of the crown (the leafy part of the tree) had dieback (no leaves).
And I found out that the dogwoods in Atlanta are having a huge problem with dieback.
Now, Atlanta is a dogwood town. I sent a postcard to a person in my postcard club that I came across recently at an antiques market that pictured a road lined with dogwoods full of white blooms from the sixties that said, "Dogwoods in Bloom in Atlanta, GA". For the dogwoods to be dying here is concerning. In the Civil War (150 years ago), people used the red fruit of the dogwood trees as a medicine.
For the dogwood tree to have a problem in Atlanta is a significantly bad thing.
I read about dogwoods and what they need. Apparently, they get dehydrated easily. They do not like to be too close to pavement because their roots get too hot. This could be a factor. Atlanta has lots of pavement and heat.
Dieback is most often related to root injury. Construction work over the root system often injures trees by compacting the soil and by roots being cut. It can be caused by the water table changing. It can also be caused by insect or physical damage to the leaves that is widespread. It can be caused by air pollution. It can be caused by a fungus or a parasite.
But we better figure it out and fix it.