Skip to main content

6 Signs of Tree Problems to Look Out For

By Stein Tree
Posted on January 19, 2022

One of the most effective methods of keeping your trees healthy and vibrant is detecting any signs of tree problems early. Your trees can suffer from various issues, including external damage (insects and weather), internal diseases, or issues that began during planting. Detecting these issues early on will allow you to take action and resolve any problems earlier, but you need to know what to look for. Below are 6 signs of tree problems to look out for and keep in mind.

1. Leaf Color and Other Signs of Damage

Leaves can show many signs of tree problems, and one of the most noticeable signs is their color. Check to see if your trees’ leaves have a deep, vivid color. A pale or off-color can signify pest damage, disease, too much or too little water, or a lack of nutrients or sunlight.

Other signs of insect damage include a spider-web appearance or holes on the leaves. If your tree has smaller than typical leaves, you may have issues with the soil or roots. The tree may also have vascular damage in the trunk or branches and other issues like pests or drought. If your trees appear to be developing leaves noticeably later or dropping them earlier than expected they may be under stress and need to be examined by a professional.

2. Stress Cracks

A crack in a tree can be a significant indicator that the tree is unstable and is at risk of falling over. Cracks, which can be horizontal or vertical, are typically signs of structural failures or stresses within the tree. The tree is more likely to fall during strong winds, leading to property and personal damage. Severe winds or storms, heavy canopy growth, or weak branch unions splitting are all potential causes of stress cracks. If your trees have cracks, you need to get an arborist to inspect them to prevent any possible damage nearby.

Wine leaf with mite and smallpox infestation | signs of tree problems | Stein Tree

3. Girdling or Circling Roots

One of the more common signs of tree problems is girdling roots. Girdling roots occur when the root system of a tree is constricted and cannot grow outwards away from the tree, cutting off a tree’s vascular system and preventing the flow of water and nutrients. A common sign of girdled roots is a tree that has been planted like a telephone pole instead of having the base flair outwards. You may also see roots sticking out of the ground, late leaf development, small yellow leaves or needles, early leaf drop, and dieback.

4. Branch Dieback

Dieback is the death of branches, twigs, or roots beginning at the tips and eventually working inward to the rest of the tree. Branch or twig dieback is due to poor growing conditions, physical damage and injury to the tree, or pests and diseases. Dieback can be difficult initially to detect with an untrained eye and typically start in the upper canopy: a general growth reduction, early fall yellowing, and defoliation are all signs of tree problems with dieback. As the dieback progresses, you can spot more extensive branch mortality, cankers on the branches, and an increased insect borer presence.

5. Pests & Diseases

One of the significant issues that trees face is pests and diseases. Some pests, such as the emerald ash borer or spotted lanternfly, can cause massive, even fatal, damage to your trees, which makes them vulnerable to other pests or diseases. Keep in mind that your trees are more susceptible to pests and diseases if they are unhealthy or have been damaged. So the best defense against harmful pests and diseases is to maintain healthy trees.

Fungus growing on tree | signs of tree problems | Stein Tree Service

6. Fungi

Tree fungus can appear in many forms, from mushrooms to polypores (large fruiting bodies with pores or tubes on the underside), and while some are safe, others can be harmful to trees. For example, a mushroom in the trunk or on the branches can signify internal decay, while fungus near the roots can indicate root problems. Because of the wide variety of fungi (along with pests and diseases), the best course of action is to contact an arborist who can inspect your trees.

Contact Stein Tree Service to Inspect Your Property for Signs of Tree Problems

Do you want your trees to be healthy and beautiful? Call Stein Tree Service to inspect your property for signs of tree problems. Our team of certified arborists and plant health care specialists provides plant and tree care services to keep your landscape vibrant and healthy. For a free consultation, contact us today.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.