Tree Care Services of Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR

Springtime Signs Your Trees Are Unhealthy

By AK Timber in Tree Care

When trees are blooming in the spring, it is a great time to notice that something just isn’t right. During spring, trees are doing quite a bit of work and it is the best time to spot something that is going wrong.

Identifying something going wrong with your trees can be difficult, especially for people who don’t know a lot about trees or how they grow. Sometimes, trees will do some pretty strange things in the springtime and it is completely normal.

Since the inner workings of your tree are probably a mystery to you, it is best to learn some of the telltale signs of a bigger problem:

1. Excessive Branch Loss

  • It is normal for some branch loss
  • Too many may signal a problem
  • Look for clusters

During the winter months and as the temperature starts to warm up, trees are largely dormant. This makes it somewhat difficult to evaluate the health of the tree. During these early stages, however, there is one thing that you can spot: broken branches littering your yard. While heavy rains or strong winds will commonly bring down a few branches during this time of the year, seeing an excessive number of downed branches can signal that something is going very, very wrong.

According to Love To Know, it is important to remember that some trees are self pruning, which means that they will shed branches at a given time. This is especially true of fruit bearing trees.

2. Trees Are Leaning Suddenly

  • Largely due to other problems
  • Make sure soil is steady
  • Can sometimes be fixed

Another problem that sometimes makes itself present during the spring months is a leaning tree. Often, people chalk this up to planting the tree crooked or some soil loss. Sometimes, especially in younger trees, this can be the problem. However, older trees typically don’t have this problem unless there is something else going on.

Trees that have been weakened by diseases, infestations, or other structural problems lack the strength to keep themselves steady when the soil moves or there is a weakening in the root system. If this is the case for your tree, you may want to check for a common problem called a “lifting root plate” which, according to the University of Florida, causes most structural support problems.

3. The Leaves, FLowers, or Fruit Don’t Look Right

  • Can occur as they bloom or later on
  • Sometimes growth is slow
  • Growth may only occur near the tips

As the leaves, fruit, and flowers begin to grow in the spring, you might notice that they do not look like they used to look. This could mean that the tree has simply matured, according to the University of Arkansas OR it can mean that the tree is unhealthy. If your leaves are slow to develop, it could signal a problem or it could just be the result of a difficult season.

If there is nothing developing, it could mean that there is a portion of the tree that is dead or that the entire tree is dead. If only leaves develop but no fruit or flowers, it is a sign that the tree is not healthy and you may need to take steps to get it healthy.

In short, if a tree’s leaves, flowers, or fruit look unusual or are completely absent, you may want to have the tree inspected to see if it is healthy.

4. You Spot Fungi Growing Alongside Your Trees

  • Some fungi is okay
  • Sometimes, it can be a symptom of a significant problem
  • Can kill some weaker trees

If you have fungi (mainly mushrooms, but it can be other fungi as well) around the base of your tree, you might have a problem on your hands. These organisms can eat away at the base of your tree and your bark, which can open a pathway for other infestations and diseases. They can also be a sign that there are already parts of the tree that are dead.

It is important to remove them – but you cannot just pull them off. The Tree Center explains: “Fungi come in many shapes and sizes, with the large ones being the most conspicuous. Often a fungus is like an iceberg – what’s visible is only a small part of what’s there. If you see a mushroom or puffball you might think that’s the whole thing, but in fact it’s just a fruit. Its purpose is to grow, then scatter, the spores that will grow into more fungi, and it won’t last for long. The actual organism it’s growing from is a network of threads buried just below the surface, and this network is the feeding, growing part of the fungus. In the case of a mushroom of puffball it’s nourishing itself on decaying plant matter in the soil. Other species will be feeding on a dead, or living, tree.”

5. You Have A Lot of Shoots

  • Healthy trees have shoots too
  • But if you have too many, that’s a problem
  • Can be caused by stress, abnormalities, or pests

If you see healthy trees that grow tall, you shouldn’t see any shoots on the base of the tree. If you do see a few, it might not always be a problem. However, if you see a lot of them, it can be a signal of a bigger problem.

Love Your Landscape says that these are bad for your trees: “Those stems are called suckers, because they zap water and nutrients from the main tree. As suckers are unhealthy for trees and they are unsightly, it’s important to know how to eliminate them and when possible, how to prevent them in the first place.”

It is best to eliminate them as soon as possible.

Contact AK Timber Services for all of your tree care needs – we can help you at any stage of the tree process, from planting and taking care of your tree to pruning and cutting it down to watering. Of course, we can also help you with any questions about whether or not you can remove trees or debris from your yard. Call us today at (360) 635-1076 for all of your tree care needs – we offer free estimates. No matter what, make sure that you do not take tree trimming into your own hands, as this can cause quite a bit of damage.

Header photo courtesy of gailhampshire on Flickr!