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How to Recognise a Sick Tree and What to Do About It

Trees tend to live for hundreds of years, so many of us don’t give them adequate attention, especially after they’ve reached maturity. However, there are many factors that lead to a tree’s illness, and once they’re ill, trees can quickly deteriorate.

So let’s delete all of that from your mind right now and focus on how you can deter the damage from happening to your tree in the first place. Here’s how…


Why Do Trees Get Sick?

Trees, like every living being, can become ill too. Strong & unpleasant weather is key to an easy (and effortless) way to damage your tree, especially when they start decaying. Trees tend to succumb to severe vulnerabilities and illnesses owing to a lack of nutrients in the soil and/or water.

Tree damage is caused by a variety of reasons – but the most common two causes are:

  • environmental inhibitions
  • external harm.

Because trees are often left unchecked for years, these problems get aggravated quite easily.


Abnormalities in Tree Bark

A diseased tree will have discoloured, wet, flaking, or “weeping” bark. The bark of a tree serves as its protective outer layer. When it fails to do that job, the rest of the tree begins to suffer. As a result, damage to a tree’s exterior is way more harmful than what meets the eye. Significant damage to a tree’s exterior will cause its permanent annihilation.


Dead and Weak Branches

If the tree’s limbs are drooping, splitting, or dry, it’s a sign that the tree’s not okay. By breaking a branch, you can find out whether it’s approaching its end. The best way to know is to test if the branches are bone dry and break easily.

It’s very risky to have a tree with dead or weaker branches. Why? Because in the case of big trees, branches tend to fall off unexpectedly – increasing the risk of a surrounding accident.

Now that you’re aware of it, if you notice any dead or weaker branches then it’s your moral duty to get rid of them ASAP! And, while you’re at it,  don’t forget to inspect the rest of that tree for other signs of illness or vulnerability.

If you feel it’s too tedious or dangerous of a job to do on your own, call a professional arborist to do it for you!


Shrunken or Dying Leaves

An unwelcoming shriveling or withering of leaves, especially during an “off-time” of the year might be an indication that a branch is beginning to succumbing to its illness. It also may  imply that the leaves aren’t receiving enough water or nutrients to maintain healthy growth, or that there is an in insect infestation. Each issue requires its own unique attention. If you aren’t treating it right, your efforts might be counterproductive, or even worse – it could cause the death of the tree. It’s best you seek the help of an expert arborist.


Insect Infestation on Trees

To some extent, insects and trees can cohabitate. Though when a tree is attacked by pests it can deteriorate quickly. If you notice a lot of insects, it’s probable that your tree has been infested and is  in danger.

Oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling, and tree dieback are all symptoms of infestation, such as that of Spotted Lanternfly. When spotted lanternflies eat, they produce a sugary fluid called honeydew, which may cause tree damage. Honeydew promotes the development of sooty-black mold, which is toxic to trees.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect that reproduces by depositing eggs within a tree’s bark. Once hatched, the larvae then consume the tree from the inside out for many years until they reach maturity.

Termites are another threat to vulnerable trees. Deadwood is a food source for termites. They’ll only start eating a tree in areas where it’s already been damaged. These insects will further weaken the tree’s branches and structure, making it more vulnerable to severe weather.


Decay and Mould

There are moments when trees just get too much water. It’s possible that deterioration, mold, and decay will creep in if trees are in a wet or marshy area. It may be very difficult to maintain trees that have begun to decay. The rot must be trimmed away as soon as possible, otherwise, it will spread throughout the rest of the tree.

Mould may indicate that a tree is decaying from the inside out. It may also be caused by a number of other factors, such as excessively wet tree bark.


Prevention is Better than Cure

Regular care and maintenance are excellent ways to keep your trees healthy. A Certified Tree Care Expert can spot problems, remove dead branches, and protect your home from the risks of sick and dying trees. They can tell you how your trees have changed from one visit to the next and provide you with advice on how to keep them healthy.



Just like every other pet, trees and plants, too, need some level of care. Its importance cannot be understated. A “sad” tree will collapse eventually, causing harm to nearby properties, cars, or people. Not to mention how it catalyses depreciation of your property’s value.

Calling a professional arborist is the best way to ensure your tree is well looked after, and keep all of the potentials risks, sicknesses, and above problems at bay and find out if your tree isn’t doing great. Furthermore, they’ll know the best, and safest, solution for any stage of any condition that your tree may be in depending on the state of its condition it will require its treatments.

Take care of your trees, and save the world from climate change. For professional help in Canterbury, NZ, you can contact ProArb arborists who bring in knowledge and expertise.