Basic Signs of Diseased Trees

Basic Signs Of Diseased Trees

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It is imperative to recognize a diseased tree to treat it in time. This article will tell you about the main signs that tell you that your tree is sick and needs help.

All living creatures are susceptible to disease, and trees are no exception. A tree can get sick for various reasons, and the most common ones are severe storms and hurricanes that damage the branches or bark of the tree. Also, deficiencies in water and nutrients can be the cause. Trees are also susceptible to parasites and pathogens.

If this problem is not solved in time, the disease can seriously affect the health of your trees and sometimes even lead to their death. In this case, there will be only one way out – felling, as a sick tree very often becomes an emergency and, if it falls, can cause damage not only to your property but also to your health.

Basic Signs of Diseased Trees

You can use a few basic signs to tell if your tree is sick or not. However, if you find it difficult to determine the tree’s condition on your own, we recommend contacting a professional who will diagnose the problem and treat it.

The main signs of diseased trees include:

  • Changes in the condition of the bark
  • Dead Branches
  • Withered leaves
  • Insects
  • Mold
  • Damaged roots


Let’s look at each of them in more detail.

Changes in the Condition of the Bark

One sign of a tree’s health is the appearance of its bark. The tree is sick if it is discolored, deformed, or has begun to drop its branches. It usually goes dry and becomes easily breakable.

For example, extensive growths most often indicate cancer, and rotting suggests that the bark is prone to necrosis and may soon collapse.

It is also worth paying attention to cracks that may appear on the surface of the bark. The cracks are not always the result of disease and can occur due to bad weather; for example, extreme cold causes cracks in the bark, but they are a sign that the tree is particularly vulnerable in this area.

Dead Branches

A few dead branches don’t necessarily mean the tree is suffering from disease or dying. In a tree’s natural maturing process, it is customary to lose some branches that did not get enough nutrients and are no longer helpful to the tree. However, if your tree has more than half of those branches, it’s probably time to start treatment.

Smaller branches are not very dangerous and can be used for domestic purposes, but if they are large, some issues might arise. Large dead branches are hazardous because they can fall at any time and cause damage to your property or even harm people nearby. Therefore, always keep safety a priority and remove these branches immediately.

Withered Leaves

Fallen and wilted leaves also indicate that your tree suffers from health problems. Parasites most often cause this issue, but sometimes it is also because the leaves are not getting moisture and nutrients from the roots, indicating a disruption in transpiration – the process of moving water from the sources to the branches. They reveal the tree’s roots are damaged and cannot provide the nutrition it needs.

If your soil is fertilized correctly, but your tree still has withering leaves, it might suggest that the tree has been hit by some kind of infection or pest, such as fungus, larvae, etc. 


Not all insects are harmful to trees. However, an attack by pests causes the tree to become diseased, leading to death.

The most common pests that damage the trunk and bark are Bark Beetles and Carpenter Ants. Termites also do a lot of damage. They appear on a slightly damaged tree and begin to actively eat its bark, thereby further weakening the sick plant.

No less damage to the tree is caused by pests that attack the leaves. They force them to wither, curl, and multiply very quickly, resulting in the disease affecting the entire crown of the tree. 


In addition to a lack of moisture, trees also suffer from its excess. It occurs in the case of floods, long rainy seasons, or swampy soil and eventually leads to the rotting of the tree from the inside.

You can tell if a tree is susceptible to rot by the bracken-shaped fungi growing on its trunk. If such fungi are affecting more than 20% of the tree, you can be sure that a significant part of the tree is susceptible to rot or mold.

Damaged Roots

Roots go deep into the ground, so determining if they are diseased is often impossible. However, this is much easier if part of your tree’s root system is above the ground.

Scrutinize the roots, if it is possible. If not, contact professionals who will do it for you. There should be no visible damage, discoloration, rot, or mold. Any of these signs can indicate that the root system is damaged.

What to Do With a Diseased Tree?

Preventing a tree disease is much easier than treating it. Therefore, first of all, trees require careful care. Regular watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control will help the tree stay healthy for a long time.

If the tree is already sick, the best solution is to contact a professional. The experienced team will carefully examine the damage and determine how to eradicate the disease. They will treat the tree using various effective methods, such as tree injection, spraying, removing dead branches, treating the soil around the tree, applying insecticides and others.

hand in a glove injecting fungicide into tree bark and trunk

In very severe cases, when a tree has withered or nearly rotted from the inside, there is no choice but to cut it down.

If you are worried that your tree may be sick, contact us. We will give you tips on caring for it, assess the extent of the damage, and begin treatment if it is needed. If the tree is so diseased that we cannot save it, we will effectively and professionally cut it down.

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