How to Save a Dying Tree?

Trees are very important to us but their numbers are decreasing as time goes by. One of the major problems of the world would be air pollution and trees can help us combat that concern. This is why it is salient to learn how to save a dying tree.


Characteristics of a Healthy Tree

​A properly nourished tree will appear to be full of life: producing luscious fruits and beautiful flowers like mums or lavender. Aside from that, you can see that the leaves are producing dynamic green colors. The leaves together with the branches are not dry and wilted.


How to Save a Dying Tree?Characteristics of a Healthy TreeDying Trees: Causes and IdentificationSaving Trees 101What Will You NeedStepsConclusion

Dying Trees: Causes and Identification

Trees are like humans; getting their basic necessities (food, air, and water) in adequate amounts can help them live longer. Trees can die naturally or can get infection or disease and die. We lose some because of natural (lightning) or man-made (logging) cataclysms.

The signs that a tree is dying vary from one to another. Their manifestations can also vary greatly depending on the locality they are standing. But here are the common observations

  • Leaves – you will notice that the leaves of the trees are getting dry, falling and no new growths are seen​
  • Roots, trunk, and stems – the robust look of the healthy body will be absent if the tree is dying. Signs such as bark brittleness and branches being easily snapped off will be noted.

Saving Trees 101

What Will You Need

Primarily, it is essential for you to have a keen eye as it will help you assess what is really wrong with the tree. It is highly important for us to know the reason why the tree is dying. Simply removing the cause can sometimes revive them.

Identify if the tree is experiencing pest infestation. Check carefully if there are manifestations of plant disease. Evaluate the tree’s hydration.

Tools or materials will vary depending on the condition of the tree. Nevertheless, here are the common utilities you can make use of:


Step 1: Water

Dehydration can kill all living beings: humans, animals, and trees. Make sure that your tree is properly nourished.

Although trees are naturally watered by the weather, it is imperative for us to augment it as needed especially during dry season. Be guided with the fact that the water needs of a tree differ from one kind to another.​

The soil bearing the tree may also influence the amount of water you should use. If it sandy, make sure to water them more compared to a rich soil.​

The perfect time to do this is late in the evening to not later than 8 in the morning.​

Using your garden hose, set it on full stream and water the plant from 30 to 120 seconds (.5 to 2 minutes).​

Depending on the size of your water can, make sure that you water it until you notice the land soaked in water without drowning it.​

Step 2: Prune

The purpose of pruning is to remove parts of the trees that manifest disease. The common diseases that damage trees include: ash yellows, bacterial leaf scorch, beech bark disease, butternut cancer, dogwood anthracnose, oak wilt, and white pine blister rust.

Know the kind of tree and the disease as the proper method of pruning should be adjusted accordingly.​

Improper pruning can either give no effect or kill the tree even faster.​

Step 3: Fertilize

There are different fertilizers available on the market and it can be confusing. Their goal is to top off nutrients that are lost. Therefore, expect your fertilizers to have the following contents:

  • ​Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur

There are fertilizers that can provide all these nutrients or you can purchase them separately according to the needs of your plant. You can ask your sellers or your arborist.

Follow carefully the manufacturer’s instruction to get the full benefits of your fertilizer.​

Do not forget the fact that some plants weaken because they have been over-saturated with fertilizer. Adding more fertilizer will just speed up their dying process.​

Aside from giving excessive fertilizer, improper methods of applying it can kill your trees as well.​

Step 4: Mulch

Mulching keeps your plant properly thermoregulated. That means that during spring to winter, the soil becomes warmer than usual and it becomes cool during peak summer days.

​Aside from that, organic mulches can save dying trees by supplementing its nutritional needs.

To use, prepare the surroundings of the tree by pruning off and removing weeds.​

Dig the ground to make sure that the mulch has a direct contact to the roots. The aim of this is to retain moisture and nutrients; hence you may go as much as 5 inches deep.​

Using your rake, you may now start spreading the mulch. Do it by the saying ‘too much of something is bad’. Even if the mulch is beneficial for the tree, apply a maximum of 1.5 inches layer only.​

Replenish your mulch at least once a year.​

Step 5: Eliminate the Pest

The pesticide that you will use will depend on the insects that can be found on your tree. Here is a list of some common pest according to the kind of tree:

  • 1. Balsam fir
  • 2. Maple
  • 3. Oak
  • 4. Pines
  • 5. Spruce
  • Eastern spruce budworm
  • Hemlock looper
  • Balsam wooly adelgid

Eastern tent caterpillar, fall cankerworm, fall webworm, maple leafcutter, maple skeletonizer, Asian longhorned beetle, pear thrips

common oak moth, worms (cankerworm, webworm, orange-striped oakworm), forest tent caterpillar, periodical cicada, scarlet oak sawfly

Jack pine budworm, white pine weevil, common pine shoot beetle, pine false webworm, and southern pine beetle

Eastern spruce budworm, hemlock looper, and spruce beetle

After identification, you can purchase ready-made chemical pesticides on the market and apply as directed by the manufacturer.

On the other hand, you may go natural and create your own concoction. If you are unsure, you can always contact your nearest pest control company.​


Every single one of us benefited in the presence of trees. Through the shade and protection, they can give during sunny and rainy days, through the apples and oranges that we snack on, and most especially the oxygen they give.

This tutorial enabled you to learn the following:

They have saved us so many times and now it is our turn to save them so that our future generations can also enjoy the world with them.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Tell us why you think it’s important to save a dying tree on the comment box below.

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