How to Tell if You Have a Sick and Sad Tree

Trees don’t get runny noses or run fevers when they are sick. So it can be hard to tell when your tree needs to see a doctor. I also don’t recommend uprooting your tree and bringing it into a clinic. Instead, the tree doctor will need to come to you. But how do you know if your tree is sick? For this, you need to consider the whole tree as a system.

Look at the leaves. First and foremost, it’s normal for most trees to shed. Some trees drop their leaves every year, while others, such as pines, drop a few here and there. If your tree is losing leaves in an off-season, it could be sick. Also, take a closer look at the leaves themselves. If the leaves are blotchy, appear to be growing mold, or are withering and curling, that’s a sign of a problem. Call your tree doctor.

Look out below! Trees do drop branches sometimes. Take it from the pro’s at Tree Service Oshkosh WI, storms often sacrifice the weak limbs to your shrubs or your neighbor’s yards. These limbs are not signs of illness though. The critical difference between a healthy limb and a weak limb is if you have leaf growth or other typical markers of tree life on them, such as a bud or a pinecone. If your tree is dropping branches, with no external cause, such as the wind, pay attention. It could be an act of critter violence, or if the limb is bare of all leaves and no signs of growth, you’ll want to eyeball the branch before throwing it in the compost box. Symptoms of illness would include dry and brittle exterior or insect infestation. After you recover from doing the creepy crawly dance, call a tree doctor.

Hug a tree. Ok, well I have not researched hugging a tree and how it correlates to tree health, but that part you’re hugging? That’s the trunk. It goes from the base where the roots are up to where the branches start. Give that a proper inspection. There should be no caves in your tree. If there is a depression anywhere big enough for a critter to burrow, you’ll want to call the tree doctor.

Trees are not snakes. They don’t shed their bark and re-grow larger. A tree with dry, brittle bark or bark that is flaking off the tree is not healthy. Need a different perspective? Think about the playgrounds with mulch. Why is the mulch there? Kids are clumsy and need a soft place to land. Healthy bark is bouncy, pliable and makes a soft landing pad when your kid slips off the monkey bars for the 15th time. If the bark on your tree is not acting the same way, call the tree doctor.

Trouble down below. It’s easy to ignore the roots because you don’t see them. However, if the roots fail, the whole system of your tree is going to experience repercussions, which means you may have a tree fall over on your shed. If you have roots that are near the surface of the ground, you’ll want to be sure you are not going over them with the lawnmower or other heavy machinery or vehicles, as this puts stress on that root. Also, standing water is not suitable for trees. Trees need water, but too much makes them sick. Lastly, look for signs of unusual growth. Faerie rings are cool, and all, but mushrooms should not be growing near the base of your tree. If they are, it’s time to call the tree doctor.

As a licensed tree doctor, I’ll be able to tell you just what’s going on with your tree, how to treat the symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to the rest of the tree, or to surrounding trees that could be vulnerable. If the prognosis is fatal, we will determine the best way to remove your tree without risking further life or limb. After all, we got to protect that shed.