How a Tree Dies

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on September 14, 2012

Home owners are frequently stunned when a tree that appeared to make it through the drought last year “suddenly” dies.  Actually, trees take a long time to die.  Many trees that appear to be dying now have been dying all year from the drought.  It wasn’t just the drought that killed them, but the high temperatures last year.  Trees use water to cool themselves.  When there is inadequate water, they can’t cool off and their cells literally cook.

Many trees showed that they were dying when they began trying to leaf out.  The extra energy required for this act finished them off.  However, many more are showing they are dying now during the summer and fall.  More hot temperatures and more drought finished them off.

What are the symptoms that tell you your tree is dead or dying?  Failure to leaf out is one of the most obvious symptoms.  Sometimes, trees leaf out but them the leaves turn brown and die.  For evergreens, the needles on all or part of the tree turn brown.

Another symptom is a fungal infection that causes the bark to shed.  Woodboring insects move in to dying trees, too.

What should you do if you think your tree is dying?  Call a certified arborist to look at the tree and tell you if it is dying, if it can be saved, or if it needs to be removed.

Losing a tree is very traumatic, especially if it is a big one.  By one count, Texas will lose one fifth of its’ trees because of the drought.  If your tree is one of them, remember that a dead tree is a safety hazard and you are liable if it damages property or worse, hurts someone.  Remove it promptly to protect property and life.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Becca from Tree Removal Melbourne November 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Pruning should follow standards established in ANSIA300, published by the American National Standards Institute. Proper pruning is a tree health treatment, but one of the most neglected tree care practices.


Trenton February 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

I have a tree near my house that I believe is dying. I’m worried that if we have any bad weather it might fall down. I’ve already contacted a tree removal company before anything happens. Thanks for sharing.


Burke from Tree Service Cherry February 27, 2017 at 8:40 am

Tree Trimming is by far one of the most overlooked tasks for maintaining a health outdoor living environment. Unfortunately most folks don’t really “CARE” about their tree’s until they have become a problem.
Burke recently posted..South Jersey Tree Services – The Dirty Little Secret Tree Service Companies don’t Want You to Know!My Profile


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