Why Is My Tree Dying? 7 Things That Could Be Killing Your Trees


Do you have a tree you love?

Studies show that only 66% of tree saplings survive four years after planting. It takes a lot of effort, luck, and good timing to help a tree grow to its full potential. Watching a tree grow can be a rewarding experience.

It can also be heartbreaking to see your favorite tree start declining in health. Detecting telltale signs can be difficult in the early stages. Are you wondering, “why is my tree dying?”

In this article, we show you how to tell if a tree is dying. Read on to discover more about caring for your tree. Learn more information about tree doctor IA.

Signs of a Dying Tree

Before discussing the causes of a dying tree, you need to know the signs of a dying tree. Determining your tree’s health can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here are some signs that you may have a dying tree.

Brittle or Cracks in the Bark

A tree’s bark starts to become loose and fall off when it’s dying. A dying tree may also have missing bark or vertical cracks. Look for deep splits that may hit the internal cavities of the tree.

Little to No Healthy Leaves

Evergreen trees will start showing discolored leaves or needles when stressed or dying. Leaves or needles may appear red, yellow, or brown. Deciduous trees may have brittle or brown leaves during their growing season.

Dead Wood

Some dead branches on a tree may be a sign that it’s pruning. However, excessive deadwood may be a sign that your tree is dying. Beware of deadwood that can cause hazards.

Has Fungus and Other Critters

Stressed or dying trees may start hosting pests like carpenter ants. A dying tree may also home black beetles. Pests like these prefer dying or weakened hosts.

Discolored or depressed areas in a tree’s bark may be a sign of bacterial or fungal infection. Mushrooms at the base of a tree or on the tree may also be a sign of this.

If you’ve identified these symptoms, you may start asking yourself, “why is my tree dying?” Read on below to discover seven common reasons for a tree’s death.

1. Harsh Environment

The conditions of a tree’s environment may determine the wellbeing of the tree. If you plant a tree that is sensitive to drought in a dry area, it may die of dehydration. The conditions may vary from tree to tree.

Other elements of harsh environments include droughty and salty soils and pollution. Extreme hot or cold weather could also contribute to a tree’s health. Trees can adapt, but you need to know what their limitations are.

2. Pests and Disease

Many American forests fell prone to the American Chestnut Blight disease. This chestnut may start as a harmless sprout. However, as it grows, the fungus will kill every tree in its range.

Other common diseases include oak wilt and anthracnose. These diseases contain pathogens that damage a tree’s vascular system. Harmful pests may also invade a tree when it’s under heavy stress.

3. Catastrophes

Though many trees can withstand harsh conditions, they are not immune to catastrophes. Not many trees die from catastrophes but often suffer from heavy damage. Disease and pests take advantage of this and take the tree as a host.

Trees are most vulnerable to strong winds and forest fires. Heavy ice could lead to limb breakage. Persistent floods may also damage the roots by diminishing their oxygen levels.

4. Why Is My Tree Dying? It Could Be Old Age

Trees can live for a long time, surpassing many generations. The oldest tree in America is General Sherman, between 2,300 and 2,700 years old. Experts say that it’s also the largest tree in the world by volume.

Your tree may start dying when it loses its ability to support itself. A tree’s epicormic sprouts may try to help the tree maintain its health. However, these immature branches are weak and cannot sustain life for long.

A tree dying from old age will begin to collapse under its weight. It crumbles to the ground to serve as topsoil and nutrients for future trees.

5. Timber Harvest

Trees have sustained human life in various ways, from giving food to firewood. Wood from trees became an essential aspect of growth in human civilizations. However, many of our population abuse this.

Deforestation is one of the most prominent global crises. This, along with forest degradation, contribute to global warming. Though the death of trees is often due to nature, we as humans are also to blame.

6. Rotting Roots

Finding rottings roots as the cause of a tree’s sickness may not always be easy. Damage may not always be visible when a tree’s roots run deep underground. A tree is more susceptible to root rot if there was construction or excavation in the area.

If you had either of those recently, check for any other changes in your tree’s health. Shallow or exposed roots may be a sign of poor soil compaction or harsh elements. If your tree’s roots are dying, you may notice other symptoms like dead branches, thinning foliage, and poor growth.

7. Lightning Damage

Tall or large trees are more prone to getting hit by lightning. When hitting a tree, lightning can kill it instantly. It delivers up to 100 million volts of electricity.

If a tree gets hit, the lightning can cook its vascular system. The extreme heat causes the bark to explode or peel off the tree. This is often in the form of a streak from the canopy to the ground.

How to Save a Dying Tree

If you catch any signs that your tree is dying, you may still be able to save it. However, working with an arborist may be the best choice if you want to save your tree. You can find out why here!

Save Your Tree Today

Wondering, “why is my tree dying?” Here are seven possible reasons why, from parasites to root rot. Use this guide to determine the health of your tree.

Thank you for reading our article! Looking for more tips on caring for your plants? Check out our other guides for more great tips.


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