How To Tell If A Tree Is Unhealthy

Spring is the time we see our trees budding and growing leaves, but sometimes this doesn’t happen as we expect it to. Use our guide to examine your trees this spring for signs of sickness and learn what you can do to nurse them back to health.

Signs Of A Sick Tree

Our bodies have ways of telling us that things are not right: runny noses, congestion, and fevers are just some of the indicators that let us know when our immune system is fighting off an infection. In similar ways, trees give off visible signs that things aren’t good.

Peeling Bark

A healthy tree’s bark will be fully intact, so if you see signs of peeling, loose or large bare sections, there is cause for concern. These issues also leave the tree vulnerable to insect attacks and disease. Visible insects or oozing sap are quick indicators that your tree is potentially being harmed by an infestation of insects.


When a tree begins to grow mushrooms this is a sign that the tree is unhealthy, and the location of the growth reveals the type of harm being done. If the mushrooms are growing on large branches, there are root and soil remedies that can be done to restore the health of the tree, but when mushrooms grow from the main trunk it is a sign of serious harm.


The place where the tree meets the grass is called the collar. Check this area for signs of missing or broken bark which is a sign of developing decay. Holes in the trunk that aren’t caused by human or animal activity are likely caused by decay from a disease.

Discolored Leaves

Changing leaf colors are standard for the fall but when the leaves grow back in an unusual color, this is an indication of your tree being in ill health. Wilted leaves or stems on a tree are signs of stress from potential disease, lack of water, or too much sun. If the leaves are yellow, it is a sign of overhydration, while brown indicates a lack of water.

Tree Care Solutions

There are a few remedies you can do on your own for less severe issues such as discolored leaves, but solutions for decay or disease are best left to the professionals. If you note any signs of illness on your trees, seek the services of a professional arborist. They are the best resource to lean on to nurse your trees back to health or remove them if that is the best course of action. Talking to an arborist about routine maintenance that can keep your trees healthy is the best thing you can do.

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