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Sick Tree: Warning Signs

Trees are a beautiful part of any landscape. They add life and vigour to any surrounding and they serve as home to other smaller forms of life. However, the opposite is true. A sick tree can be a source of problem and concern to any green thumb and they can turn dangerous for any surrounding too. Check your trees to make sure that they are still healthy and growing well. A sick tree will give you major and noticeable indications for you to check.

Brittle barks

Trees that are sick or stricken with disease may exhibit brittle barks. Barks start to fall more frequently and loose shards of wood plague the surroundings of the tree. Brittle barks contribute to a weakening state of the tree which follows to a more fragile tree. If your tree has deep cavities and crevices that may result in a loose wood slab eventually, your tree may be sick.

Deep cracks in the trunk

Inspect the trunk of your tree. Any major cracks indicate that the tree is slowly disintegrating within. Although it’s normal for tree trunks to have cracks, deep cracks that go beyond the barks of the trunk can mean that your tree is not well. Call your local arborist to treat the tree if that happens.


Another sign of a diseased tree is the abundance of deadwood. Trees have a normal level of deadwood, but if you notice that more deadwood is present as time passes by, examine the tree to mitigate its sickness. Do a scratch test to the branch. If the inside of the wood is brown and dry, it’s deadwood. Prune it.

Decaying spots

Decaying spots show that a tree is sick. This means that other symptoms might be present to your tree too. Check the roots first for any decaying spots as this area tends to experience the decaying occurrence first before any other parts of the tree. Then, check the trunk. If there are wounds in the trunk, a decay may likely occur the following days or months. 

Pest, insect or critter infestations

Infestations result from decays and rots in the tree. A decaying tree or rotting root can attract pests and insects. However, this could also mean the other way around. Infestations from insects or critters contribute to the faster decay and degrade of the tree. Either way, it makes the tree sick. Call professional help to improve the situation.

Fungus growth

The same manner with infestations, fungus growth is a symptom of a dying tree. More fungus or fungi will grow and take over the tree, making it sicker and more brittle. This leads to the eventual degrading of the tree. Fungal tree disease weakens the tree and usually leads to a dying tree, but to treat the tree and restore its health, call your tree expert.

Changing colour or discolouration

Leaves and flowers from trees have a specific normal colour depending on the species and kind. Any changes in colour and discolouration mean that the tree is not growing well, thereby affecting the colour of the growing foliage and flowers.

Lacking foliage or less foliage volume

Trees grow a certain volume of leaves that are normal for its kind. Lacking foliage indicates a less dense volume. This results in a lack of leaves. If your tree is experiencing insufficient nutrient or sun dose, it might grow into a sick tree. Inspect the canopy first to know if there is a normal level of foliage present. Check with your arborist to find out what’s wrong.

Leaning trunk

A trunk supports the tree in any landscape or environment. If the trunk is leaning, it indicates that the tree is not strong enough and will fall or collapse. This can result from many things like decay and infestations. See the trunk of the tree. If it’s supporting the tree well, the trunk is still strong enough to raise the tree.

Soil change

Other signs of a sick tree can be mistaken for its nature and characteristics. As such, one of the ways you can check the health of a tree is through the soil. It is one of the biggest indicators of a sick tree. Dry soil means the tree is receiving less water. The root system of a tree is heavily affected by any soil disturbance too. Look at your soil regularly to find out if your tree is still healthy.


A sick tree exhibits warning signs and symptoms. As a tree owner, it is your responsibility to check these aspects from time to time to make sure that your tree is healthy and living well. Any sign that gives you a red warning can put your tree in danger and eventual death. This can cause you more issues in the long-run. Contact your arborist to have a checkup from time to time.

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