How to Tell If a Tree Is Diseased: 6 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Want to know how to tell if a tree is diseased? The bad news is that the signs can sometimes be as subtle as small changes in the tree’s bark. In this post, Top Tier Tree Specialist, Gainesville’s expert tree service, explains how you can recognize the signs.

how to tell if a tree is diseased - Top Tier Tree Specialist

1. Bark Abnormalities

When caring for damaged trees, you learn that the bark is one of the best indicators of the plant’s health. Look out for the following signs: 

  • Shedding: If the tree loses bark in many places without replacing it, it’s probably dead or dying. 
  • Mushy Areas: These may mean that a fungus is running riot. 
  • Vertical Cracks: No cracking is a good sign, but vertical ones are a sign that your tree’s splitting. It can’t hold itself together, which indicates it’s unbalanced or weak. 

2. Changes to Tree Leaves

Checking the foliage is another great way to see if the tree is suffering from environmental stress. If your tree’s not getting enough water, it may shed leaves to conserve it. The foliage may also discolor, wither, or curl up. Ironically, leaves withering on the branch and not falling off is a potential sign of tree death. 

3. Too Much Dead Wood

If branches are dropping like flies, you have a serious problem. You should also check for dry, brittle limbs or signs of decay. If the wood crumbles to the touch, you need help quickly. This is more about the tree dying than how to tell if a tree is diseased, but it’s still a good fit here. 

4. A Leaning Trunk

It’s never a good sign if your tree develops a sudden lean of more than 15 degrees. This is usually due to a problem with the roots or because of a strong wind. At this stage, you may be able to restabilize the plant with expert assistance. However, if it leans at 30 degrees or more, it’s a hazard you need to deal with immediately. 

5. Pests 

Pests may leave small piles of sawdust, mud tubes, holes in the wood, or bite marks on leaves. While ants and other bugs can munch on living trees, they prefer decaying ones. So, if you see pest damage, your tree’s in trouble. 

6. Fungi

Some types of fungus are harmless, while others are a sign your tree’s rotting from the inside out. Look out for signs of abnormal growths, black, sooty mold, or mushrooms around the roots and on the trunk. Harmful decay also results in soft spots, so call us if you suspect an issue. 

Contact Us to Confirm Your Diagnosis

Now you know how to tell if a tree is diseased, are you worried about one of the plants in your yard? If so, it’s time to call in a certified arborist service for a thorough risk assessment to avoid possible tree emergencies.

Contact Top Tier Tree Specialist at (352) 472-8733, and let our professional arborists help you plan your next steps. 

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