The first warning signs you might have an unhealthy tree

The first signs of an unhealthy tree can stem from issues with the root system. For this reason, it can be difficult for someone who is not trained and does not have advanced equipment to run tests and properly diagnose a tree that may be sick.

That being said, unless you’re lucky enough to live with an arborist, you may not know what to look for. So to help, we’ve highlighted some of the biggest warning signs, outlined when it’s important to tag in a professional, and provided some tips on how you can prevent a tree from becoming unhealthy.

To prevent an unhealthy tree from becoming dangerous it’s important to call a certified arborist straight away if you notice any of the following symptoms. If nothing else it will certainly put your mind at ease when the next storm rolls around knowing a professional has assessed your tree for potential hazards.

Symptoms of an unhealthy tree


  • Dead and/or broken branches. These can be the result of a recent storm but they could also be a sign of rot and decay.
  • A significant lean. This could be due to over saturated soil or damaged roots. While one is much easier to remedy, both are an indicator that the tree is no longer properly anchored to the ground and could fall over at any point so it’s important to address the issue ASAP.
  • Sprouting branches midway along the trunk or branches of the tree. Also known as epicormic growth.
  • A canopy that is thinning, sparse or has leaves that look like they’ve been eaten and/or are turning colour in the wrong season

Things you can to do keep your tree healthy


  • Only use a trusted and certified arborist to prune your tree. Proper pruning techniques go a long way in preventing future problems to manifest.
  • Find out how old your tree is. Some trees live longer than others and knowing the life-cycle could help you prevent an old tree from causing damage to any nearby structures
  • Don’t overwater. This is a waste and it also paves the way for potential fungus, rot and other problems.
  • Be careful when using fertilizer. Less is more. We usually recommend using mulch in place of fertilizer where possible because it works well to keep the soil nutrient-rich, locks in moisture and keeps weeds away.

One of the main things you can do to prevent a tree from ever becoming unhealthy in the first place is to keep an eye out and call a professional Arborist as soon as you notice anything may be wrong. The sooner a tree is diagnosed the faster measures can be taken to prevent it from dying or infecting nearby vegetation.

If you aren’t confident in identifying problems or you don’t spend a lot of time near the trees on your property you can always schedule routine health checks with a certified arborist the same way you do with visits to your doctor. Give us a call, we’re here to help!