In The News


March 16, 2018 by Hugh Darlington, Board Master Certified Arborist

An important fact most people may not know is that the symptoms of drought and the symptoms of overwatering are identical. So it’s vital that you determine which problem you have. When John B. Ward & Co. arborists visit your property to review your trees and plants, water is always on our mind.

A recent study about ChestnutOak decline throughout the East Coast brought out a simple but profound fact. After testing for a myriad of insect, disease, soil fertility and other biotic and abiotic issues, it was discovered that the cause of the problem – outside of some low phosphorus and potassium levels – was water. More precisely, the lack of water. 

Older trees in particular are extremely dependent on water

Older trees in particular are extremely dependent on water. The larger and the older the tree, the more energy it takes to keep the tree alive. Even if all other needs are satisfied, without the correct amount of water the tree cannot create the energy it needs to make it through to the next year or, even more likely, to ward off the diseases and insects that attack weak trees. Water fuels the engine; it affects each and every process that creates the energy the tree needs. But older trees, whose roots are more susceptible to rot diseases, can suffer from overwatering as well. Finding the correct balance is crucial.

If your property has a sprinkler system, it may be possible to add a zone around the more important trees. If there is no sprinkler system, it isn’t necessary to install one; there are other low-cost ways to ensure the tree gets the water it needs during periods of drought. At the same time, the overwatering issue must not be ignored. When using irrigation, there must be a way to check the soil profile so the trees are not overwatered. Luckily for you and the trees, systems can be installed in the ground to do just that.

So please start with a call to John B. Ward & Co. We can guide you through the process.

Recent News

July 25, 2019

Local experts evaluate threats posed by lanternflies

As spotted lanternfly nymphs continue to spring up throughout Northwest Philadelphia, an increasing number of residents are turning to local botanical institutions and...

Read More
June 17, 2019


I remember, as a child, visiting friends who had moved from our old leafy neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia to new homes in the...

Read More
June 17, 2019


Boxwood Blight

For several years, we have been raising concerns about Boxwood Blight, which is a new disease to our area, but luckily had...

Read More