How To Save A Dying Tree? Follow These Easy Steps

Most people have trees in their yards and have had them for a long time. Trees can live for long periods of time with a little looking after. The time may come however that something is wrong. You notice that your tree is sick and is dying. Don't fear that all is lost!


Like living creatures, it is common for trees to become sick and begin to die. However, they can also be nursed back to health. There are solutions to prevent your trees untimely death. In this article, you can learn how to save a dying tree.

Also, signs to look out for and ways to prevent it in the future. Find solace and hope in knowing your aged tree can still have many more years to come with some help.

Find the Issue

Dying Tree

Like a patient in their doctor's office, before they can get a prescription the doctor has to learn the patient's signs and symptoms. Go outside and do a little investigating to see what's wrong with your tree.

Has your tree changed in appearance? Notice whether its leaves have thinned out or have completely fallen off entirely outside of the fall season. Changes in the trees wood can also be a signal.

Is the wood dry and weak? Try to gently bend a branch or twig, it usually should have a bit of elasticity to it. If it is easy to break this is a definite sign.

Has the trunk of the tree changed in appearance? Perhaps cracks are now visible. If the tree is beginning to lean then this could also be a sign. Trees may begin to lean due to roots becoming weak from sickness.

Is there decay occurring on the tree? Growing fungus and mushrooms are a clear sign. Don't ignore any little change as all the things you notice could be part of a larger problem.

For those who don't feel as comfortable with their diagnosing ability, it's recommended that you find an arborist to help you with this process. You don't know an arborist in your neighborhood? Not to worry. The International Society of Arboriculture has an amazing search engine that can get you in touch with one near you.

Solving Watering Problems


All plants, both veggies and trees alike, can become sick from over watering. Regardless of the trees age and stage in its life cycle, this can happen. Check whether the water is draining properly. If not and water is getting pooled around the tree, try to improve its drainage situation. 

The opposite is also true. Not enoug water can also kill off your trees. You may think you are watering it enough but it can be cancelled out by the weather in your area. If you live in a hot area you may want to consider watering more frequently. Getting an automatic watering system may be a great help.

Consult this YouTube video for a general overview of drop irrigation.

To look at your forecast check out the farmer's almanac forecast for your area:  They offer a reliable long term forecast for the year and a weekly one as well.

Get Your Mulching Done Right


As with the water situation, there is such a thing as too much or too little mulch. But having too much mulch is what will kill a tree. Having a thick layer of mulch will smother the roots. If this is your issue, use a rake or hoe to thin it out over a larger area.

This is also good preventative care for bacteria, root rot, fungal infections, and insect issues. In order to get it right on the first time, try using this helpful guide for mulching or watch this YouTube video for an easy guide to solving common mulch issues from This Old House:

Get Your Fertilizer on Point


Proper use of fertilizer can lead to a very healthy tree. Test your soil before you add a fertilizer to your tree. Improper use can kill it slowly on the other hand. To avoid this, do not place fertilizer close to the tree.

For those using organic fertilizer, prevent cross contamination from other ill plants by making sure they don't make their way into your fertilizer. Why not try to get into composting to replace fertilizers or to supplement?

For those who are not entirely familiar with using fertilizers spend a few minutes and watch Davey Trees intro into the basics of fertilizers.

Get to Pruning


If you see that certain branches of your tree are diseased it would be a good idea to prune them to avoid the disease from spreading. Before you begin pruning, do research on proper pruning techniques for your exact species of tree.

Certain species require different techniques than others. When in doubt, talk to a professional. Failure to properly research this can create even larger problems down the line. Once you have pruned off ill branches, destroy them. You don't want that disease to spread to other trees in your yard. Sterilize your pruning utensils before using them to ensure your tree doesn't catch a different disease.

For those who may not be too familiar with pruning, watch this informative YouTube video on pruning.

Don't Let It Happen Again!

These are just some of the most common and classic signs of a dying tree and ways to get your tree back to health. The thing is, there's a lot you can do day to day to keep your tree healthy to avoid going through this again.

One way is to meet your trees needs for sunshine, watering, and maintaining a healthy soil level. Avoid injuring your tree as you do work in your yard. Wounded trees are more susceptible to falling ill. If you observe your trees roots are exposed try to cover them up as exposed roots can develop root rot.

As stated before, don't over mulch and suffocate your tree. Be mindful of the weather as hotter months will require more watering. Don't neglect regular pruning so as to not overstress your trees circulatory system. A maintained tree is a healthy tree.

Healthy Tree


If your tree is dying, find out why first. There are a handful of common reasons why this happens such as watering issues, over mulching, fertilizer gone wrong, and a lack of pruning. All of which have easy fixes. The best solution though is prevention. Following a few general rules year round will help you maintain a happy healthy tree that will bring many years of shade and clean air.

I hope you enjoyed this short guide to solving dying tree issues. Let us know what you thought in the comments section. If you liked it, share this article on your social media feed.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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