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Dying variegated tree.

Hi All, I'm looking for some advice about a large (~15m tall) variegated tree (I think it's probably variegated poplar) which is around 15 years old. It stands in the garden of a house I lived in for over 10 years and earlier this year the house was let out to tenants who do seem very into gardening. The garden is very exposed, on the side of a hill in Northumberland and the past decade has seen a wide variety of conditions; wet years, dry years, cold and hot years and the the tree has sailed through them all however I've recently noticed that it's dying. The leaves on the lower two thirds of the tree have turned brown, there is a zone of about a foot where the leaves look a bit unhealthy and only the top of the tree looks normal. I suspect that it's been sprayed with a systemic weedkiller but as the landlord I don't want to go flinging accusations around without any evidence. Is there anything else (unrelated to the activities of tenants) that would cause this pattern of sudden tree death? Judging by my interactions with the tenants so far, they will soon be looking to me to finance the removal of a large dead tree from their garden... Thanks, David


  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    You could take some samples from it and take them to University with a faculty of science. Fir a fee I am sure they could analyse the material and tell you if weedkiller has been used.

  • Thanks Invicta2. Are you aware of any labs offering such a service as I can't seem to find any, and I have read that testing for herbicides is both "expensive and difficult". Besides which it seems a bit petty for what would be at most a minor dispute. The tree had little sentimental value to me and if they'd asked me I wouldn't have minded if they had removed it but presuming that they have killed it I don't want to be landed with the bill for its removal (as when alive it posed no major risk, but dead it could potentially fall and injure someone at which point I could be said to be negligent as the owner of the tree) I'm just wondering if weedkiller is the most likely reason why a hitherto thriving tree would suddenly turn up its toes?

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Sorry Dave I don't know of any. I agree it would be a complete injustice if you had to pay for its removal if they have poisoned it.

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