How to Identify a Diseased or Dying Tree

Aside from diminishing the appearance of your property, diseased and dying trees pose certain risks to the rest of your yard or pasture. You want to address the problem quickly so that it may be remedied, perhaps even in time to save the tree. If you’re not sure what an ailing tree looks like, however, the damage could be done and irreversible by the time you get around to having it diagnosed.

In this article, we will detail the most common tell-tale signs of tree disease or demise.

Leaves Aren’t Looking Too Good

Some trees shed leaves and needles throughout the year, but you’ll be able to notice when your tree is suddenly dropping far too many. This is especially true during summer and spring where trees are less likely to experience massive leaf dropping.

Of the leaves that remain attached to branches, some or all may appear discolored or disheveled. This also indicates toward a sickness somewhere within the tree.

Branches are Hitting the Ground

We’re not talking about healthy branches being stripped from trees during a violent storm. We’re talking about bare branches suddenly falling from the tree. If this is happening to your tree without any apparent reason, disease could very well be the reason why. Examine the branch after it’s fallen. You may see rot or a bug infestation that points to this problem.

Bark is Peeling Away

The bark of a tree is essential for its health, as it protects the inner core of the trunk and helps the tree maintain its nutrients. When the bark is suddenly peeling off in large amounts, this points toward a lack of nutrients that will only get worse the longer it goes unaddressed.

You See Rot on the Trunk

Rotted segments of a tree’s trunk can be obvious, or they can be subtle. If your tree is exhibiting any of the symptoms above and you aren’t sure whether it points to disease or not, look at the trunk for your answer. Pieces that are rotted away indicate that the tree is diseased or dying.

Call in the Professionals to Diagnose, Treat or Remove a Diseased Tree

Diseased trees can, over time, present a significant risk to your property. When you first notice any of these indications of disease or imminent death, it’s time to call in an arborist to get their opinion.

Valuable Tips for Preventing Tree Death

Have you noticed any of these symptoms affecting your tree?

    • Disheveled, discolored or dropping leaves
    • Thin branches
    • Branches that fall
    • Fungus at the roots
    • Decay in the trunk
    • Bug infestations


If you have, there’s a very real possibility that your tree is nearing the end of its life. A dying tree is no joke. They can fall and cause tremendous amounts of property or bodily damage – yes, even the small ones.

Keeping trees healthy is the ideal alternative to having them removed outright, after they’ve developed a disease or near death. Continue reading to learn some easy tips to help you keep your trees from dying and posing a hazard to you, your family, guests or property.

Check for Ailing Trees

Every now and then, it’s wise to take a quick stroll throughout the property and get a visual of the trees on your land. You can’t address a diseased or dying tree if you never notice the affected tree in the first place, right?

Only Water Newer Trees

Over-watering can lead to plant death on its own, but it’s also entirely unnecessary to water a tree that’s been around for a long time. After some time, trees become acclimated to their weather and soil conditions, so they don’t need to be watered. Only newer trees need to be watered until they become adjusted to the land.

Avoid Parking Under Trees

Cars and other vehicles sitting on top of a tree’s roots can cause extensive root damage over time. The roots are the life source of any tree, so it’s important that you do everything possible to avoid inflicting harm onto them. Park in the garage or on the street if you must – just do not park under a tree!

Be Careful When Doing Yardwork

If you happen to cut your tree when trying to perform a different landscaping venture, this could leave the tree vulnerable to infection. Practice caution when doing yardwork around your trees.

Watch Out for Exposed Roots

Roots that are outwardly exposed are particularly vulnerable to the elements, a fact that can lead to root rot. This then affects the rest of the tree, potentially killing it.

A diseased or dying tree can be a tremendous liability for homeowners. Instead of waiting until a tree has died and have it removed, you should dedicate some time and focus to ensuring that your trees don’t end up in this position to begin with.

By following the advice outlined above, your trees are much more likely to have a long and healthy life – without the risk of falling onto your car or through the roof of your home. A tree removal after it’s fallen can be incredibly expensive, on top of the cost of damages, so it’s simply not worth it to wait.