How Can You Tell If Your Tree Is Dying?

Summer's gone now, which means it's time to evaluate the health of the trees on your property. Trees that show signs of illness or approaching death can be a danger during the cold days of fall and winter, when wind, ice and snow are common problems. Unhealthy trees can come down easily in winter storms, and when this happens, property can be damaged and people can be injured. The following signs are what you may see if any trees on your property are dying.

Leaning Trunk

Very few trees stand up ram-rod straight. That said, the lean of a tree should not increase over time and should not be influenced by factors like wind. If it it seems like your tree is leaning and the lean is getting worse, this is a sign that your tree lacks structural integrity. It could also be a sign that the roots of your tree are dead and no longer able to hold your tree upright. If you think that the tree is leaning to one side more than it used to, look for signs that the roots on the side opposite the lean are starting to heave upward. This is another sign that your tree could be dying.


Tree fungus occurs when the inside of a tree has grown weak and diseased. Fungus often takes the form of mushrooms growing up the trunk of your tree, although some fungus doesn't much resemble mushrooms. If your tree has an unidentifiable growth on the outside of the trunk, there's a good chance that the tree itself is dying.

Bare Branches

One of the most obvious indications that a tree is dying is a noticeable lack of leaves on some of many of the branches. If you notice a lot of bare branches on a tree, look at the branches that still have leaves. You may notice that there are fewer leaves than there used to be, and the branches are clearly visible beneath the leaf clusters.

Changes on the Trunk

Even if you don't see fungus growing on the outside of the tree trunk, you may still see indications of distress like pests, cracks, cankers and peeling bark. These are signs of changes taking place just beneath the bark of the tree, in the tree's core.

If you believe that a tree on your property may be dying, call a tree service (like Tree Sculptors) before the cold we weather of winter sets in. Doing so can help protect your property and the people who live there.