I am just sick. My Royal Poinciana is 6 or 7 yrs old. It has been very healthy growing very fast and beautiful… This year I got a few small clumps of leaves all over it that vanished in no time and it is naked. I had a few places in the crotch trimmed 2 – 3 yrs. back that healed and looked fine…I discovered that it had some tiny worms under the bark along with saw dust. Is it too late for my most loved tree?
I am sorry to hear about your tree. It sounds like the tree has borers and it probably too late to save the tree. Boring insects are usually the clean up crew. They tend to infest trees which are under stress and/or declining from other causes. Borers are nature’s way of speeding the decline of a tree, helping decompose the wood so other healthy plants can fill the space.
Play detective and try and determine the cause or causes of decline. You mention pruning a couple of years ago. Pruning cuts, particularly large ones (over 2″ in diameter) or other physical damages sometimes don’t seal and are places where rot fungi can enter the plant’s system.
Any change in the area surrounding the tree should be suspect. Has there been construction in the area? Soil removed or added around the roots? Remember, the roots spread out one and a half to three times the width of the canopy and as little a two inches of soil added or removed from the rootzone is enough to trigger a problem. This decline can occur over several years before death of the tree occurs.
Other causes of tree decline are lightening strikes and herbicides in the rootzone sometimes from weed and feed fertilizers meant for the turf. However, one of the most common causes of slow death in trees occurs when the tree is planted. If installed too deeply, many trees will slowly decline and eventually die; this sometimes takes years. The signs of this problem include flushed of short-lived foliage, limited or an abundance of flowering and a general failure to grow and or thrive.