Oil and Trees?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Fahzu, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Fahzu

    Fahzu LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    PART 1
    Here's my problem...Two dying cedars that were 15 feet tall or so, maybe 6 or 8 years old, have been treated like there was a bug problem. Decline was pretty severe over a 4 week time-span before treatment. When I talked to the client's daughter, she said her boyfriend had been washing his oil-soaked work jacket on the concrete next to the trees. I don't know what he was using as a soap or solvent if any.

    The trees are 85-90% brown but have new growth that is sporatic. Have any of you seen this and seen trees recover any more than this?

    PART 2

    The client wants to remove the trees and replant. Should I remove some of the soil or will time leech the toxins through the soil enough to plant a few shrubs?

    Thanks for any input!
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Definately dig around the roots and see if you can smell anything, or notice a difference in color or texture. On the replant add a lot of compost to serve as a buffer for future toxins. Maybe suggest a little further away, next time.
  3. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    #2, quit washing the **** out in the yard.
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746


    IF the boyfriend was cleaning oilly clothing around the tree area, then you should be able to see some sort of residue on the surface of the soil??? If he used solvent or other media like this, there should be an odor in the top soil. What about any turfgrass or other shrubbery fatalities around that area?? It is highly unlikely to me that cleaning his clothing near these trees would have killed them both. I think that one tree would show more signs of decline than the other. This is because of the nature of oil-solvent mixed with water..........to me it doesn't add up!!! A swath would have been killed all the way down to where the water ran to........these areas would be in decline or death. Wouldn't they????
    Phytothora is a possibility of death as I am digging deep here!!! Where were the trees purchased from.......? This disease is a rarity in California!!!
    The decline of the overall trees and then the witches-brooming or stress sprouts are growing back is signified by a troubled root system and vascular problems. Have you seen any orange growths on these trees? Cedar-Apple Rust is a major problem especially with apples anywhere within a 100 miles.
    Have you spoken with the family about the trees other than the daughter, because this sounds like an instance of blame. The parents ought to know what has been going on around their own property. I just don't buy into the idea of oils and solvents because they would have caused odors and other dead things around the area.........!!
  5. Fahzu

    Fahzu LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    Thanks for the respoonse T.G. and everyone else so far. Let me respond as best as I can.

    I haven't noticed any odor or visible residue from oil or solvent. I was weeding under the trees on Saturday. Weeds are growing there.

    There are actually 3 trees in this area of the planter. The two affected by whatever problem we are having are in the direct watershed area from the patio. The third tree does not appear affected although it was also treated at the same time as the other trees in the exact manner. This included "Acecap-97" and Bayer Advanced Shrub and Tree care. (Both according to directions) This was advised by the local fertilizer/grove supply store after I said I had seen about a quarter inch hole on each of these three trees that had a weeping appearance. They're guess was a boring beetle. No other plants have shown decline.

    I don't know where they originated although I am sure they were purchased in CA. I tried to research different diseases although this isn't my area of expertise so I came up empty.

    4) DISEASE
    Whatever symptoms came up in my search for disease came up negative. No signs of fungus or funny little growths.

    The mom (owner) lives in Washington, so she only comes to visit occasionally. She isn't blaming anyone, in fact she doesn't know about the clothes washing by the boyfriend. Honestly I don't know if she knows the boyfriend is living there. The daughter is only 19 and I try to mind my own business as much as possible. The only thing I can put together is the timing. The trees showed decline around the time the boyfriend moved in. I never would have guessed oil or anything else caused this; the daughter volunteered the information when we were talking one day.

    Thanks for reading all this... I'll add some pictures.
  6. Fahzu

    Fahzu LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    I'll try to make these pictures work...



Share This Page