How to Treat a Sick Tree

Fort Worth Tree Treatment

As spring approaches, we expect the trees in our residential or commercial landscapes to bud and turn skeletal branches green. That awakening can be a marvelous sight, a welcoming reminder winter’s cold—yes, even in Texas—is about to warm up to new life.

But, if any trees in your landscape are slow to bud or seem not to be putting out leaves on time or at all, you might have a sick or dying tree. You might wonder “Is my tree is sick or dead” and how to get your sick tree help.

What Are the Signs a Tree Is Dying?

Some simple tests can show you if a tree is dying. The first test is to inspect it. Walk around the tree and look closely at its branches. Healthy branches will have green buds and leaves. This normally shows the tree is alive and well.


Should the tree’s branches not have buds or leaves, it may be dying. Then it’s time to check the branches. Bending smaller branches to see if they snap is a good test. A quick break with no arching means the branch is dead. If several branches break this easily, it may be a sign the tree is dying.

Should the tree’s branches not have buds or leaves, it may be dying. Then it’s time to check the branches. Bending smaller branches to see if they snap is a good test. A quick break with no arching means the branch is dead. If several branches break this easily, it may be a sign the tree is dying.

After you do a snap test, you should follow up with a bark scratch test. Under a tree’s dry outer layer of bark is the cambium layer of bark. In a healthy tree this layer is green. In a tree that’s dead, this layer will be brown and dry. To check the cambium layer, you use your fingernail or small pocket knife and scrape off a small layer of the outer bark on a branch. The tree is alive if you see green under the scratch. If it’s brown, it’s dead. Do the scratch test on several branches.

One dead branch doesn’t mean the whole tree is dead. Sometimes in severe drought, trees will “sacrifice” a few branches to stay alive. Other signs a tree might be dying include cracks in the tree and old bark not being replaced by new bark. Shelf fungal growth on trees is also a good indicator a tree is dying of internal rot. Any part of the tree under the fungus is probably dead. Other signs a tree might be dying include cracks in the tree and old bark not being replaced by new bark. Shelf fungal growth on trees is also a good indicator a tree is dying of internal rot. Any part of the tree under the fungus is probably dead.

Root damage also indicates a tree is dying. But it’s hard to determine root damage. One indicator, however, is if the tree has suddenly begun to severely lean. Epicormic branching, or branches sprouting from the tree’s base, is also a sign of root stress.

Can a Dying Tree Be Saved?

If you discover any signs above of a dying tree, it is possible to save it. A professional arborist like those with Fort Worth Arborist Co.. can help you determine whether a dying tree can be saved.

Trees need proper nourishment and they get this through water. Dehydration kills, but so does overhydration. So proper watering can revive a dying tree. To properly water a tree, it’s important, first to have good drainage. Watering a tree regularly for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes is a good way to start nursing your tree back to health. If you can’t water them regularly, adding an automated sprinkler system is a good option.

Mulching nourishes the soil around the trees, as long as it’s not overdone, and helps trees fight bacterial and fungal infections. The roots still have breathe. So apply just a little mulch around the tree’s base to help the stay nourished. To apply the mulch, dig around the base about 5 inches deep so the mulch will have contact with the roots. Then apply about 1 and one-half inches of mulch.

How Do You Treat a Sick Tree?

Fort Worth Arborist Co. specializes in treating sick trees. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your tree is sick or dying. Along with the signs above for a dying tree, these signs below are sure signs a tree is sick:

  • Seeping fluid, or alcoholic slime flux, which may smell sour or streak the tree
  • Hard gray fungal growths
  • Peeling bark
  • Black flowers or shoots
  • Light brown shelf fungus near base
  • Yellow or brown leaves, a sign of root rot
  • Powdery mildew on leaves

Fort Worth Arborist Co. offers a full range of sick tree treatments to fight everything from bagworm and spider mites to root rot and oak wilt. Treatments range from fungicides to handpicking bagworms from trees. Treatments are scientific and research-based.

Does Cutting off Dead Branches Help a Tree?

Cutting off dead or diseased branches, or pruning, helps trees, extending their lives, minimizing disease risk and lowering the risk of insect and mite infection. Pruning trees also helps maximize air circulation and sun exposure, as well as training the tree’s shape.

Pruning, along with trimming, are specialties of Fort Worth Arborist Co.. Trimming trees also has health benefits for them. Trimming also helps with air circulation and sun exposure, as well as shaping the trees.

Both trimming and pruning can also help protect your home, keeping branches from falling and damaging rooftops and leaves from clogging and damaging gutters. Of course, if your untrimmed trees have already clogged your gutter, reliable and affordable gutter repair and installation is available from Mac Construction and Roofing, a Midlothian, TX roofing company.

Before you lose hope over a sick or dying tree, you can get help from Fort Worth Arborist Co. in Fort Worth, TX. If you have any questions or would like for a team to come out and check your trees call 817-975-0180.