Why is My Tree Sick?

Trees, like people, get sick for many reasons. It is difficult to explain how to diagnose tree diseases, but we will share the first steps you can take toward helping your tree get better.

1. ID YOUR TREE. First, figure out what kind of tree you have. What Tree Is It? can help you identifying your tree. Each species has a handful of diseases or pests they are susceptible to, knowing the species narrows things down quite a bit.

2. OBSERVE YOUR TREE. The best information clients can provide us is collected over a period of time. Have a look up into the canopy and observe the tree over a period of time, taking written notes of changes you see. If you don't have the luxury of long-term observation and need answers now, just make notes of what you see now.

How do the leaves look? Are they burnt on the edges? Do they have spots on them? Are they falling off? What does the bark on the tree look like? Do you see any fungus (this would be mushrooms, or different colored growths on the bark)? Lastly, has there been any changes to the tree's environment in the recent past? Construction, soil compaction, large limb removals, or an injury to the stem are just a small part of large list of things that will affect tree health.

3. GET HELP WITH DIAGNOSIS. If you're unsure whether your tree is sick, or you know it needs help, we are happy to come out and have a look.


If you want further information on sick trees please go see Dane County's tree disease and insects page. You can also check out Trees Are Good for more guidance.