Are you concerned a tree on your property is dying? Learn the signs and symptoms indicating you have a dying tree and discover what you can do to protect your home and family.

Healthy trees bring beauty and shade to your yard, but a dying tree can lead to destruction and even injury. Knowing the difference between a healthy tree, a sick tree that requires professional attention, and one that is dying and requires removal is critical to ensure your property is safe.

It may seem unlikely that a falling limb or tree will injury someone, but it is possible and not a risk worth taking. Even more likely is the scenario in which a dying tree crashes down and damages your home or personal property.

Most homeowners do not possess the expertise necessary to determine whether a tree is healthy, sick, or dying. Turning to trusted tree service professionals will help you know for sure what is going on with your tree and when to take action.

Keep reading to learn the nine signs indicating your tree may be dying and discover the best steps you can take to make safety a priority.

  • Sign #1: Brittle or Loose Bark

    Evaluating your tree's bark can help you assess its state of health or decay. Crumbling tree bark or loose bark that is falling away from the tree are symptoms of a dying tree. If you can easily scrape off the bark because it is so weak, you'll know you have a problem.

  • Sign #2: Holes or Vertical Cracks in the Bark

    Healthy tree bark does not have deep cracks, splits, or holes. If you notice abnormalities and imperfections like this, it’s safe to assume your tree is not well. Symptoms that are especially alarming include deep splits extending into the wood. These cracks indicate a weakness within the tree structure, which can lead to an increased risk of falling limbs or a falling tree during a storm or high winds.

  • Sign #3: Minimal Healthy Leaves

    Have you noticed a tree dropping leaves during the growing season? This can be a symptom of a dying tree. Other signs include brown, brittle leaves during the growing season or yellowing leaves that are typically green. When it comes to an evergreen tree, red or brown needles on the top third of the tree show it may be dying.

  • Sign #4: Dead Leaves Cling Instead of Fall

    When autumn arrives, it is normal and healthy for leaves to fall to the ground. If dead leaves cling to the branches instead of falling, this can be a sign of sickness or death.

  • Sign #5: Multiple Dead Branches and Wood

    While it is normal for a tree to have some dead branches, a tree with multiple dead branches or deadwood can indicate it is sick or dying. This is a particular concern for property owners. Once multiple branches are falling, or a tree has significant deadwood, you can experience property damage or injury to people on your property. A primary sign of deadwood is a carpenter ant infestation.

  • Sign #6: Bug Infestation

    Speaking of insect infestations, in addition to carpenter ants, an influx of bark beetles on a tree shows it is undergoing stress or in a progressed state of decay. Pests navigate to weakened or dying trees. If you notice rows of holes in your tree, it is likely a result of boring insects and reveals a serious problem that requires professional attention.

  • Sign #7: Fungal or Bacterial Infection

    A tree with a bacterial or fungal infection is in an actively decaying condition. Do you see mushrooms growing on the tree or on the ground around the base of the tree? This is a sign of a fungal problem that is leading to root or trunk rot. Another strong indicator of tree death is depressed or discolored sections of bark called cankers. As the decay progresses, the tree can become structurally unsound.

  • Sign #8: Root Damage

    The roots are the life-giving parts of a tree. When a tree has root damage, the risk of death is higher. Keep in mind you may not always be able to see tree root damage. However, you can watch for deterioration of tree health following construction projects near the tree, which can be a sign the process damaged the roots. Trees with exposed roots or shallow roots can also be at risk for death. Signs to look for include stunted growth, thin foliage, dead branches, and yellowing or wilted brown leaves during the growing season.

    Can you see the roots of your tree? You'll know there is a problem if they appear slimy, brittle, or have knots within the fibers. Extensive root damage can lead to a tree toppling over.

  • Sign #9: Leaning Tree

    A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees poses a danger to your property. It may be suffering from root or wind damage, which leads to structural imbalance and weakness. A leaning tree rarely recovers and requires professional removal.

How to Know for Sure Your Tree Is Dying

removing tree by house

While a few dead branches or signs of deadwood do not necessarily mean you must remove the tree immediately, they are signs you should seek a professional opinion from your local tree experts. A sick tree can have the same symptoms as a dying tree. A professional has the knowledge and skills necessary to determine if you can treat and salvage the tree or if your best course of action is safe removal from your property.

With a proper diagnosis, you'll be able to know if there are steps you can take to prolong the tree's life. In the case of a dying tree, it's important to have professional tree removal services to minimize the risk of damage to other structures or people on your property.

Turn to Our Tree Service Experts at Thornley’s Affordable Home Services

Property owners in Tampa, FL, and the surrounding communities trust the seasoned professionals at Thornley's Affordable Home Services for their tree diagnosis, treatment, trimming, and removal needs. Our experts understand that keeping your property beautiful, healthy, and safe are top priorities. We have the professional techniques and tools to provide all the care your trees need.

Until you get an expert diagnosis, there's no way to know for sure what is going on with your tree. Let us put your mind at ease with our attentive customer service and high level of tree care expertise.

Contact us today for affordable tree diagnosis, tree trimming, or removal. We are the trusted local experts who guarantee your satisfaction with every service.