Common Signs of a Dying Tree

Trees contribute significantly to the beauty of a landscape. Additionally, the towering plants provide shade and shelter for wildlife and other plants.

A tree may show many warning signs of dying, even if they are not immediately apparent. The ability to identify a sick or dying tree can help you avoid tree catastrophes. 

The following signs will help you determine whether your tree is dying.

Fungi or Mushroom

Fungi often attack trees through openings on the bark or directly through tree roots. A cut from a lawn mower blade or wind can allow fungus into the tree's interior tissue. An arborist can help you eliminate tan, orange or red fungus to help a tree heal.

Mushrooms indicate that a tree is suffering internal decay. Mushroom formation means that fungus has already established itself on the tree. Mushrooms on a tree trunk or roots mean the tree's insides are already rotten.

Mushrooms won't always be present; other symptoms of a fungal attack include early fall colours and lesions on the leaves of a tree. Symptoms may not mean certain death for your tree, but you should take care to preserve its natural life.

Pests Around the Tree

Bark beetles and carpenter ants like to live in trees dying or under stress. That dead tree is not only unsightly but is also an attraction for insects that devour wood. The common ones include:

  • Carpenter ants: Carpenter ants are an indication of rotting wood. They bore holes and tunnels to build their nest. A tree infested with carpenter ants will likely have a pile of sawdust at the base.

  • Termites: Termites feed on wood. White eggs, dead termites, and tree shavings are surefire signs of a termite infestation. If you catch an infestation early enough, you can save your tree through pest treatment. Termites can weaken branches and eventually lead to tree death. 

  • Bark beetles: You will often find bark beetles in firewood or cut trees. You can recognise a tree attacked by black beetles with sawdust-like frass and tunnels under the bark. However, beetles do not cause death but only take advantage of already dying trees.

Some obvious signs of insect infestation are holes in branches. You want to keep an eye on the structural integrity of trees in your yard. If a tree is unstable and poses a threat to your home, you should have a tree removal service remove it before it falls on its own.

The best way to determine whether your trees are in good health or need help is to have a tree lopper evaluate them. An expert will recommend treatments to help rehabilitate a sick tree or determine whether to remove it due to safety concerns.