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19 Apr 2017
How to tell if your tree is sick

How to Recognize If Your Tree Is Sick (And What to Do about It)

Trees are similar to humans in more ways than one.

They need food and nutrients (in the form of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and the nutrients they absorb from the soil) to let them grow and become strong and robust. They also get sick and experience being invaded by pathogens. However, unlike humans, it’s actually much harder to spot when a tree is sick and dying.

Unless you are an Arborist or a tree expert, it is hard to spot the telltale signs that a tree is rotting and dying. However, it is still crucial that you need to know these symptoms. With this knowledge you can then gauge whether or not you need an Arborist if your tree does show lackluster health.

Here’s how you can gauge a tree’s condition.

Examine Its Parts

How will know if a tree is sick? By examining its parts, of course!

To appraise a tree’s health, you have to periodically check its branches, trunk, foliage, and roots (needless to say, only the parts that show aboveground) meticulously and look for any hint or sign that might give away signs of a deteriorating condition. Among the most vital tree parts that you should check are the following:

The Tree’s Trunk and Bark

Have you checked the tree’s bark lately? If the bark shows signs of damage, then that could be a sure sign that the tree is decaying or rotting. Vertical cracks are one indicator of deteriorating health.

Usually, when trees age, the outer layer of their bark falls off and is replaced with a new layer. However, if the tree’s health is declining, it won’t be able to regenerate the stripped layer.

You also have to check for signs of fungal growth. Large clusters of these are another indication that the tree is suffering from internal rot. Trees showing signs of decay and instability should be removed from the area as early as possible—entire trees toppling over into a neighbor’s property are stories that aren’t uncommon so that’s one thing you’ve to keep in mind too.


You will certainly have a hard time determining if a tree’s roots are damaged since they are hidden underground. Due to that, they’re the least vulnerable parts of the tree in the sense that they can’t be buffeted by winds or get gnawed on by fauna. However, if you have conducted recent construction projects near your trees, there is a great chance that their roots were affected during the operation.

In our previous article, we have listed soil compaction as one of the most common reasons that can cause trees to die. You need to ensure this hasn’t happened. Moreover, one sign you need to look out for are small branches sprouting from the base trunk of the tree; this signifies the plant is suffering from a massive amount of stress.

Branches and Twigs

Branches and twigs are also two things that can show you how well or how poorly a tree is doing.

A telltale sign your tree has a problem is a dearth of leaves when it is supposed to be covered with them. Moreover, dead branches can indicate that your tree is suffering from a serious root and trunk problem.

Make sure to inspect its twigs from time to time as well. You can check a tree’s condition by removing a small twig from a branch, breaking it open, and checking the color inside. If the color is bright green, then you have nothing to worry about. However, a dull green could mean that your tree is already showing signs of aging. Black or brown, needless to say, signifies the branch where you took the twig from is devoid of life.

What to Do When Your Tree Is Sick?

Once you have confirmed that your tree is deteriorating, the first thing that you should do is identify what is causing it to be sick. Again, it would be hard to determine the problem unless you are an expert. It is highly recommended that you consider the help of an Arborist. With an Arborist’s training and knowledge, diagnosing the root of the problem and finding a remedy for it becomes easier.

One of the first things that an Arborist will likely advise that you do is to check how much water your tree is receiving. Your tree may be suffering because it is receiving too much or too little water. A recent soil compaction or excavation around the area can prove to be a problem for your plant.

Additionally, you should also make sure that you are properly mulching and pruning the tree in order for it to recover and improve its health. Don’t forget to infuse the surrounding soil around your tree a good amount of fertilizer as well.

More info:

Tree Health Care

Seasonal Tree Care

Pixabay photo by lovexxpeace

22 Mar 2017
Timber! Is my tree about to fall?

Timber! Is My Tree About to Fall?

Five Warning Signs of an Impending Tree Disaster


Ever noticed how a falling tree always seems to come as a surprise to most homeowners, and people in general?

Most of us seem to think that trees are so huge and sturdy that it would take an F2 tornado or Katrina-level hurricane winds to completely uproot them. It may not look like it, but trees are susceptible to a sundry of external factors that could cause them to get damaged and fall over.

Just like any other living organism on this planet, trees are susceptible to disease, decay, and aging. They grow old and become weak over time. Granted that some trees have double, or even triple, the lifespan of an average human, the fact is they do go through the same aging process as any living thing.

There are plenty of reasons why trees can sometimes fall over. Among them are improper planting conditions, advanced insect infestation, malnutrition, poor soil condition, flooding, construction damage, old age, and a host of other causes.

Accurately predicting when a tree is going to fall is impossible. However, we can learn to spot the warning signs and do something about them before it’s too late. So, is your tree about to fall? Below are the telltale signs you need to know.


Five Warning Signs That Your Tree Is About to Kick the Bucket

1.Visible dead branches that fall with minimal agitation.

Okay. Seeing dead branches on a tree doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to fall over entirely. It does, however, present a clue as to the current condition of the tree. When you start seeing falling dead branches, your tree is trying to tell you that there’s something wrong.

Shedding branches is the tree’s way of self-pruning. It’s trying to make itself smaller, which typically means it’s not getting enough nourishment, which could also mean it’s getting attacked by burrowing insects, among other things.


2. There’s a cavity/hole in the trunk of the tree.

One of the side effects of a tree trying to shed its branches by self-pruning is the formation of a cavity inside its trunk. The open wound from the broken branch could lead to decay inside the tree. However, this may not mean that the tree is going to collapse soon.

If the cavity is isolated and there’s enough solid wood around it, then your tree is probably not going to tip over or break into half. It may be best to consult a tree professional when assessing this kind of problem.


3. The presence of deep cracks or missing bark on the trunk of the tree.

Here’s another sign that your tree may be dead or dying. If you find patches of missing bark—otherwise known as cankers—on the trunk of your tree, you might want to have it examined by an Arborist. The presence of cankers is a sign that the tree is dying.

Deep cracks on the trunk should also be a concern. These make the trunk considerably weaker and therefore more likely to become a hazard. When you spot a crack on your tree, it’s best to have it taken care of sooner than later.


4. The tree has a tight V-shaped branch growth.

The branch growth on a tree should be at an ideal distance, so there’s enough room for the branches to develop. This strong union is evident by its U-shape. Branches that grow too close together, on the other hand, will often be in a V-shape. This could spell disaster for the tree and everyone or everything around it.

The best time to spot V-shaped branch growth is during late fall or during the winter, after all the leaves have fallen off and the tree is well into its hibernation period.


5. The roots of the tree are weak and rotten.

Now this can be a bit harder to spot, since the tree’s root system is covered in soil. There is, however, a reliable way to determine if the tree is rotting inside. Check for mushrooms and other fungi growing around the base of the tree or on the trunk. Fungus is often a good indicator of rotting wood.

If this is the case for your tree, then you need to consult with a Certified Arborist to figure out the best course of action.


More info:

Wikimedia Commons photo by ProjectManhattan