Trees are pretty self-sufficient. Many species can live for decades if not centuries without much help from people. Because of this, and because we have so many beautiful trees in the Raleigh-Durham area, you may be tempted to ignore clear warning signs of unhealthy trees. Doing this can have disastrous effects though, like falling limbs and tipping trunks. Look over this list of 10 symptoms of a sick tree, and consider whether any of your trees may be suffering from the following.

  1. Cracking wood — If you start to see splitting and cracking, it may be a sign that your tree is not in peak health. As temperatures change, the tree can break in places if healthy and unhealthy areas warm and cold at different rates, after a thaw for example.  
  2. Fungus growing — Funguses love to feed on the dead and decaying matter, including from trees. One common form of fungus around unhealthy trees is when you see mushrooms growing around the base of the trunk.
  3. Lack of leaves in warm months — Trees that have been thick with bright leaves every year and then all of a sudden aren’t may be in poor health. This is a sign that something has changed. It could be drought or abnormal weather, but it could also be a loss of vitality.
  4. Dead limbs — A single dead limb isn’t always a sign of a more significant problem. But, if this issue spreads to multiple branches, the health of the tree is definitely in question.
  5. Color changes in the trunk — There are many reasons a tree’s trunk may change color. Some of these include disease, damage, and age. Investigating a significant change in hue is wise.
  6. Insect infestations — Insects, especially termites and beetles, consume wood as their primary food source. They do not tend to bother with hard, live wood, however. When wood becomes soft and dry from decay, the risk of insect infestations increase. Their presence should then be a sign that decaying wood is likely to present.
  7. Cankers forming — Cankers are, not unlike canker sores in a person’s mouth, an indented open wound. These form in trees after disease grows in between the bark and the inner tree. When many of these forms, it is a sign that a disease is harming the tree.
  8. Wilting leaves — If when you look around at your trees, you see one that’s leaves are dry and wilting, this can signal ill health. There are many potential causes, but generally, they show the tree’s strength waning.
  9. No growth in stems, buds and flowers — Similarly, if a tree that has consistently grown flowers, stems and buds every year is now barren, this is a sign of weakening.   
  10. Uprooting — When a tree’s root system dies, it no longer has an excellent anchor to the ground. If the soil around the tree starts to crack, and especially if the tree is visibly beginning to lean, the tree is likely in later stages of decay.

Henry’s Tree Service can diagnose unhealthy trees

Reading through this list, you may have noticed one or more signs that are evident in your backyard. Don’t wait and hope for the best. Some problems, like lack of water, disease or pest infestation, can be handled and the tree saved if they are caught early. Those in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Morrisville and the greater Triangle area can call Henry’s to schedule a consultation at (919) 532-9141.