Signs of an Unhealthy Tree

When a tree is dead, it is obvious.  At that point, there is little to do except to remove the tree to avoid damage to any nearby commercial or personal property.  It is much more beneficial to identify a tree that is struggling for one reason or another.  Unfortunately, it is not as easy to spot the signs of an unhealthy tree.  Since the inner workings of a tree are largely unseen, you need to be aware of some telltale signs that something is wrong with your tree.

Excessive Broken Branches

In the winter, and even in the early spring, trees are dormant.  It is difficult to evaluate the health of a tree during this time.  One sign that may be noticeable is an excessive amount of broken branches.  All trees will lose some branches in the winds and ice of winter.  However, trees that are unhealthy or weak for whatever reason will experience an increase in branch loss.

Leaning Trees

Another sign of trouble that is observable during any season is a tree that leans.  Healthy trees have strong trunks that support the weight of branches and foliage.  The dense wood can normally withstand the day-to-day assault of nature.  Trees that have been weakened by disease, pests, or structural abnormalities do not have this strength and may succumb to the constant pull of gravity.

Unusual Leaves

As leaves begin to appear in the spring, there are other signs to notice.  Unsurprisingly, trees that are not healthy may have leaves that do not look healthy.  You may observe leaves that are slow to develop in the spring.  Leaves may also be a smaller size or an unusual color.  In short, if a tree’s leaves look unusual, you may want to have the tree inspected to see if it is healthy.

Absent Leaves, Flowers, or Fruit

Beyond just being slow to appear or abnormal in form, sometimes leaves are completely absent in a portion of the tree.  This is an obvious warning sign, which probably means that part of the tree is dead or dying.  Similarly, a lack of flowers or fruit on a tree that normally bears them can indicate that the tree is not healthy.

Abnormal Fungi Growth

While absence of leaves, flowers, or fruit can indicate a problem, the presence of mushrooms or other fungi can also be a warning sign.  These organisms feed off dead tissue so if you see them on or around your tree, it probably has areas that are dead or dying.  This is a sure sign that you need to take action to save the tree.

Out-of-Place Shoots

A healthy tree looks like a normal tree.  From the roots to the trunk to the branches and leaves, everything is where it should be.  However, there are trees that seem to have branches growing out of the base of the tree.  While these are technically shoots and not branches, they are out of place and they indicate that the tree may have a problem.

Visible Insect Activity

Finally, one sign of an unhealthy tree that is easy to spot is the presence of pests.  Sometimes you might see the insect.  Other times you might just see evidence that they have been there.  Examples of evidence you might see include eggs, chewed up leaves, or sticky residue.  If you think a tree may be infested, it is always a good idea to get an expert opinion.  While some pests are harmless, many can do significant damage.

Paying attention to your trees can help you see the signs that a tree is unhealthy.  If you can catch a problem before it’s too late, it may be the difference between a dead tree and a tree that endures for many years.  If you suspect that you have a tree with a problem, it’s probably time to call our arborists out for a consultation.  We will conduct a thorough inspection and give you our recommendation for the best outcome.  Spring is a great time to have a tree inspection done.  Give us a call at 317-298-8482 or schedule online at your convenience.