The signs of a sick tree will differ greatly depending on the type of tree and the severity of the infection.Trees can be affected by a variety of diseases, insects, fungus and even old age.
If you’re not sure how to identify a diseased tree, you’re not alone. Many homeowners don’t recognize signs of disease in their trees until they call a specialist.
5 Common Signs of a Sick Tree
Recognizing any of the following signs as early as possible might make the difference between salvaging the tree or having to endure the expense of removing it and planting another in its place.
1. Leaf Discoloration and Excessive Leaf Drop
One of the first symptoms a homeowner might notice is excessive leaf drop. A tree that suddenly loses many of its leaves in spring or summer is likely to be sick. Leaves that stay attached but are discolored and shriveled before autumn are another symptom of sickness. Also, if your leaves have dark spots, odd colors or a distorted shape, a leaf disease could be the problem.
One of the most common signs of a sick tree is wood or trunk decay. Decay is a condition that results from the digestion of wood by fungi and other microbes and is caused by animals, insects, birds, fire, and weather conditions. Since internal decay isn’t always obvious, your local arborist may use advanced tools to assess and document hidden decay in a tree. Since tree decay cannot be cured, proper tree care can prevent or greatly limit the progress of tree decay.
3. Peeling Bark
Another sign that your tree has a disease is peeling bark. If the bark on your trees starts to peel, the trees may not maintain necessary nutrients and could die. A healthy tree usually has pliable bark with even coverage over the surface of the trunk, while a sick tree might have brittle bark. In addition, bald spots can be another symptom sick trees can exhibit. Trees normally experience small amounts of peeling bark, however, if you notice that larger pieces of bark are falling from your tree, call a professional arborist for help.
4. Powdery Mildew
A common sign of sick trees is white, powdery mildew on the leaves. In the early stages a powdery mildew starts in small, white spots and eventually cover the leaf’s surface. If you notice any of these signs, call a professional arborist immediately.
5.Dead or Dying Branches
Another warning sign of a sick tree is if the branches are bare during a time of the year when they should be covered in leaves. While storms might snap off branches on healthy trees, a sick tree will drop bare, leafless branches. When too many of the branches break off, the tree will die.
What to Do
If you notice your trees have any of the above symptoms you may want to call a professional. A sick tree can be diagnosed and treated by a professional arborist. An arborist is a tree doctor that can safely diagnose and remove your tree if it is dead or beyond help. Arborists can also assist in preventative tree care maintenance to help avoid tree diseases in the future.