How To Tell If Your Tree Is Sick

06 July 2018

While you might spend most of the year paying no attention to the trees on your property, if they start running into problems with their health it can cause you a number of unwanted problems, including:

  • Property damage
  • Health risk for people walking underneath
  • Unwanted rodents and insects

How can you find out whether or not you have an issue with your tree?  We have some handy ways for you to discover whether or not you have a problem on your hands.

Assessing the bark

The first step in seeing whether or not you might have an issue with your tree is to identify any areas on the bark which might be a cause for concern.  If you notice a spot that looks carved or leaves the inside of the tree exposed, then it's likely to be a sign of tree decay or rotting.

Vertical cracks will show signs of internal issues with the tree, as will a lack of bark.

As trees age, bark will naturally fall off and eventually be replaced with a new layer if the tree is in good condition.  However, a lack of bark reappearing would suggest a long-term issue and one that will need to be addressed.

Naked branches

How To Tell If Your Tree Is Sick

A tree’s branches can also give you some insight into the health of your tree. 

If the branches on your tree are lacking leaves during times of the year when they should be flourishing, then it’s a sign of poor health.  Dead leaves hanging onto branches or even dead branches hanging onto the main trunk are also not good signs.

Damaged roots

Due to the nature of where they’re placed, checking and finding problems with your roots isn’t the easiest of tasks.

Roots can be damaged in numerous ways but one sign of serious root damage is the angle of the tree. 

If it starts to lean, then root damage is likely to be the cause.  Small branches appearing from the base of the tree can also mean that your tree is experiencing difficulties.


A large fungus growing on the trunk of the tree is also a bad sign for its health as it likely means that the trunk is experiencing internal rot.

Find a tree surgeon near you

Need help from a local tree surgeon? Visit our local tree surgeon directory to search for a professional near you. 

Tagged with:

  • sick tree
  • tree health
  • Tree surgeon
Author -
Content Writer Thomson Local

Away from his role as a Content Writer for Thomson Local, you’ll find Craig writing about either football or video games at a myriad of sites and publications. He’s had words featured in The Guardian, Eurogamer, Nutmeg and his own site Pause Resume. He’s also currently in the process of attaining a degree in Creative Writing with the Open University.

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