Understanding Construction Costs

What Are The Signs Of Tree Illness?

Now that summer is here and healthy trees have all their leaves, sick and dying trees can be easily spotted—if you know what to look for. Weakened, sick and dying trees can be a liability, causing property damage and injury. Knowing how to identify ill trees, and what to do if you suspect a tree is dying, can help you take care of your property.

What are the signs of tree illness?

Sick trees can display different symptoms of disease, depending on the type of illness the tree is experiencing. Some common symptoms of illness in trees include:

  • Failure to grow leaves. Sick trees will often develop fewer leaves than healthy specimens of the same species. Often trees lose their bushiness over time, and in the first year or two of disease, the thinness of the leaves in the crown may not be obvious. Over time, this lack of leaves will become more obvious as the branches in the crown become more visible and obvious. The crown of the tree will take on a starved, bare-bones appearance.
  • Early color change. Leaves on sick and dying trees will often start to change colors early in the season; much earlier than in years past, and often earlier than other trees in the area.
  • Fungal development on the trunk. Development of mushrooms on the trunk of a living tree is a bad sign. Mushroom growth on a living tree is indicative of decay in the trunk. 
  • Canker development. Cankers are sunken, diseased areas that appear on the trunk or the branches. Cankers can be big or small and can develop because of fungus, pests, illness or injury. The sudden appearance of a canker without the occurrence of an event, such as a run-in with a lawn mower, may be indicative of a tree disease.
  • Imbalance in the trunk of the tree. All trees lean to a certain degree, but any tree that begins to lean at an extreme angle could be doing so because of disease in the roots. On a related note, heaving roots on the opposite side of the side the tree is leaning toward is also a sign of tree disease. Heaving roots are indicative that the roots can no longer hold the tree in the ground.

What should you do if you suspect that your tree is sick or dying?

Sick and dying trees can be a danger, especially during summer storms with high winds. After inspecting the trees on your property,if you suspect that one or more of your trees could be diseased, contact a reputable tree service in your area. Your tree service can assess the health of your tree and make recommendations for treatment or removal. For more information, check with companies like Smitty's Tree Service Inc.