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How Do I Know When a Tree is Sick?

It can be difficult to identify the signs of a sick tree especially when you don't have much knowledge of them but we're here to help.

Trees are organisms that feed and thrive off of the nutrients it receives just like humans. Also like humans, trees can become sick and even experience sickness through virus’ or bacteria that compromise their health. Though, a sick tree is harder to identify than a sick human being. Those who can identify a sick or dying tree with no trouble are usually expert arborists.

Though this should not stop you from wanting to know the health of your own tree. Three things to look at or look for when it comes to identifying a sick or dying tree is it’s tree trunk, roots, and branches as well as twigs.

Must-know advice for effectively treating your sick tree | Smart Tips

Tree Trunk and Bark

A tree’s trunk and bark is a great way to check for signs of sickness within a tree. If it shows signs of damage, then it is a sure identifier that its decaying and rotting. Some specific telltale signs are:

  • It shows vertical cracks along the bark
  • As trees age their outer layer bark tends to break and fall off and then replaced with a new layer. Though if the health of the tree is deteriorating it won’t be able to regrow that new layer.
  • Fungal growth is also something you should check for on trees. large clusters of fungal growth can mean the tree is suffering through an internal rot.


Being able to identify a trees roots is a difficult thing to do since they are hidden underground but because of this they are the least vulnerable part of a tree. They can’t be easily affected by natural deterrents. While they seem untouchable, if there happens to be construction nearby your tree, it can leave an affect on its roots.

  • Soil compaction is one of the most common reasons for trees to die. It is up to you to be able to protect your tree from damage.
  • Another sign to look out for is small branches that may sprout from the base of the tree trunk. This usually means that the tree is suffering from a large amount of stress.

Branches and Twigs

Lastly are a trees branches and twigs. Easily seen and accessible if the health of your tree needs to be checked out.

  • An obvious sign of your tree having problems with its health is the death of the leaves on its branches. If your tree is stripped from many or all of its leaves it is safe to say it’s health is in trouble.
  • Dead branches are also a big indicator of your tree suffering from serious trunk and root problems.

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