The importance of trees in our environment can never be overemphasized. From providing beautiful landscapes to wonderful shades and cleaner air around our homes and businesses, trees are a luxury. Having healthy, gorgeous trees around is great for physical and mental health, so it’s important to keep your trees in good health.


However, despite the roles trees play in our environment, not many people take the time to understand the nature of trees and what could lead to their death. By learning the symptoms of an unhealthy tree, you can act in time to save these important plants.


Our tree care experts at Vital Tree Service discuss some symptoms of an unhealthy tree to help you figure out how best to take care of your tree.

1. Brown & Brittle Bark or Cracks

The bark of a dying tree gets loose and begins to fall off as the tree gets unhealthy. Vertical fissures or missing bark is also possible. Look for severe breaks in the bark that extend into the tree's wood or internal or exterior cavities. In addition, cracks frequently produce weakness, which can result in damage during storms or other weather occurrences.

2. Few Healthy Leaves Left

During the growth season, search for branches that lack lush green leaves and exhibit only brown and brittle foliage on deciduous trees. Dead leaves will also cling to the tree well into the winter rather than falling to the ground.


When coniferous evergreen trees are stressed or dying, their needles or leaves turn red, brown, or yellow.

3. Abundance of Dead Branches

A few dead branches or pieces of dead wood do not always indicate a dying or unhealthy tree. An increased incidence of dead wood, on the other hand, may signal that the tree is unwell or dying.


Dead trees and branches can collapse at any time, which poses a threat to you and your home. When you spot more than just a couple of dead branches on your tree, have it inspected and make a plan for removal as soon as you can.

4. Insect & Fungi Infestations

Pests such as bark beetles and carpenter ants thrive on stressed or dying trees. These tree pests prefer to live in dead, feeble, or dying hosts. Look for cankers or mushrooms developing on the ground at the foot of a tree or on the tree itself if you suspect a fungal or bacterial illness. Rot in the roots or trunk is indicated by these symptoms.

5. Leaning

This could be due to oversaturated soil or roots that have been injured. While one is considerably easier to fix, both indicate that the tree is no longer firmly attached to the ground and could topple over at any time.


Therefore, if you notice that your tree is beginning to lean all of a sudden, invite a tree service company to examine it before it gets too late.

6. Forming Cankers

A visible canker on a tree, like sores in a person's mouth, is a symptom of suffering. After a tree develops a disease condition, these indented, open sores appear in the bark.

7. Strange Coloration

While deciduous trees change color in the fall, discolored or changing leaves out of season is a bad sign. This could mean the tree has a disease. You should also be on the lookout for leaves that have bite marks on them, as this is a sure sign of an insect problem.

8. Epicormic Growth

While this is a phrase most non-tree professionals haven’t heard of, it basically means growth from the middle of the tree’s trunk. These new shoots form from buds under the bark.


While healthy epicormic buds are dormant in healthy trees, issues like fire, drought, or pests can cause new branches and shoots to form where they shouldn’t.

What Are Your Options for Unhealthy Trees?

If you notice unhealthy trees around your property, you may wonder whether you can save them or if they must be removed. The answer to this is complicated and really depends on the underlying issue and how severe it is.


The best option when you spot an unhealthy tree is to call an arborist. At Vital Tree Service, we can assess the damage and diagnose the problem. From there, we can either find a way to treat and save the tree or remove it.


Some of the options for handling an unhealthy or dying tree include:


  • Adjusting moisture content and changing the watering plan.
  • Applying fertilizers.
  • Removing pest and fungal infestations.
  • Pruning or trimming damaged or drying parts of the tree.


If none of these options work or if they don’t make sense to use, our professional team can also safely remove the tree. We can remove the entire tree, including the stump, if needed.


Have more questions about when to get rid of a dying tree? Check out this blog on when to remove a tree.

Professional Tree Service Company in Woodbury, MN

Leaving unhealthy trees standing or unattended may result in costly damage when you least expect it. When you first notice issues with your trees, contacting a pro is best, as you may be able to save the tree before it’s too late.


Hence, you need the services of a reliable tree care provider like the team we have at Vital Tree Service. Start today by scheduling an appointment online, or call us now at 651-341-4021.