Signs That Your Tree is Dying and What to Do – 2024 Review

Unlike other plants, it can be very difficult to know with certainty if your tree is dying. With other plants, you can usually determine pretty quickly whether you have killed them off when they fail to flower at a particular time, or you simply have forgotten them and left them in the cold.

Unfortunately, it can be very hard to tell if your tree is dying, the onset of illness is very slow, as is the death itself. Because it is so slow, most people aren’t able to tell if their trees are healthy or unwell, and if they do notice they aren’t well, they can’t do anything about it. Each part of the tree has a different way of telling you that it isn’t good, so keep reading so you can learn the signs that it is dying and what you can do about fixing it!

The limbs

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The limbs are always a good place to start when it comes to trying to see if your tree is dead or not. If you aren’t an arborist or experienced gardener, evaluating the limbs first can help you determine if your tree is dead or not. If limbs have dropped all of its leaves in the wrong season, this isn’t a good sign of its overall health.

Likewise, if it is holding onto dead leaves in fall, this is also a bad sign. Look at where the limbs join the trunk; do the connections look frail and weak? If they do, it may be a sign that your tree is on the way out.

The Trunk

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If you have evaluated the leaves and everything looks fine, then you can look to assess whether or not you can see any damage or signs of illness from the tree trunk. Start with the obvious and look for long vertical cracks up and down. Cracks can be a sign of stress, such as obstructions within the soil.

It may be that there are too many rocks in your soil, stopping your tree from getting vital nutrients. Some areas of missing bark are natural, especially if they are small areas, but if you find your tree is dropping large areas of bark, then there is possibly an antibiotic problem. If the infection is deep-rooted, professional tree removal may be your best option. Likewise, this is also your best option if your tree fails the scratch test. If you scratch it under the bark and see dark brown, unfortunately, it is dead.

Tree Lean

If it looks as though your tree has begun leaning overnight, this is a definitive sign that there is something wrong with the root system. Unless you have the tools, expertise, and the inclination to attempt to save or replant your tree removal is the best option, and you’ll want to take immediate action. According to Todd’sMariettaTreeServices, removing a threatening tree prior to a storm coming in will help you to avoid a tree disaster that could end up costing a fortune, or falling on and damaging your property.

How to Save Your Tree

Half the battle of evaluating your tree is actually working out if what you are seeing is part of the growing process or if it is unwell. Seasons impact how it grows, so you want to make sure that its behaviors aren’t typical of the season before you resort to trying to fix the issues. Here are some fixes you can do yourself before you call a professional.

Leaf Drop

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If it is dropping its leaves early, this may be due to pests or lack of water. Evaluate how much water your tree is getting and make the decision if you need to water it more regularly to help it survive. You will notice the overall difference in its health very quickly. Leaf drop can also be attributed to pests, so look at the leaves of a tree that is dropping them, and trees/plants in the vicinity. If it appears that there are aphids or other pests, treat them to see if this reduces the stress the tree is under before deciding the next best course of action.

Injured Branches And Arms

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If it looks as though some of your branches are looking worse and rather weak, it is a good idea to prune them. Pruning a weak or damaged section helps the overall health and condition of the tree and will keep all the other limbs healthy and intact. You can do a lot of pruning yourself, but if at any point you feel like the job is too big for you, then call an arborist or trimming professional.

Tree Stress

Stress can manifest itself in many different ways and can be caused by many various circumstances, but once known, it can be relatively easy to solve. Brown leaves can be indicative that your soil is compacted around the base of the tree. When compacted, the roots are struggling to get nutrients, so you’ll gently dig the soil around the base to oxygenate. In other situations, you may need to add some fertilizer or miracle grow around this area to give it a boost! This quick infusion restores the nutrients and will help get your tree back on track.

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Think about the living conditions that your tree is under, is it getting enough sunlight? Are there pests, or do you consistently mow too close to the tree? Evaluate your actions and adjust your gardening and landscaping behaviors to limit the stress you impose on your garden, trees, and plants.

When To Call A Professional

If your tree has long vertical cracks up and down the trunk, it is time to call a professional to get it removed. Likewise, if you have woken up and there is a drastic lean that wasn’t there yesterday, you’ll want to mitigate an emergency at all costs. A tree falling on your property or someone else’s can be an expensive, inconvenient and very frustrating mistake.

Final Considerations

Trying to work out if your tree is dying can be difficult. They can’t talk to us like people or make a sound like animals. You have to look for subtle signs and hints that everything might not be ok within the tree if it is in the early stages of illness. If you catch it early you are more likely to be able to treat it, however, if it progresses too far, you will struggle to fix the issue and will probably have to have it removed. Take care when assessing your tree and always consider if there is anything happening above or below the surface that may be causing the tree stress and problems.