What Causes a Tree to Die in Fredericksburg, VA?

If you have a dead tree in your Fredericksburg, VA, yard, you may want to know what killed it to keep the same thing from happening to your other trees.

Here, ArborPro, Fredericksburg’s trusted tree service, explains what causes a tree to die. Knowing the factors leading to tree death can help you spot problems early and maintain healthy, strong specimens in your yard.

what causes a tree to die

Old Age

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common causes of tree demise is old age. Although it might take several centuries, all trees succumb to the passing of time.

Once a tree reaches maturity, it grows slowly until it eventually stops altogether. The lack of new growth hinders the tree’s ability to support itself, and it starts to lose the foliage that provides its bulk with nutrients and water. Unless you remove it, it will die and crumble.

Natural Factors

Diseases, insect infestations, and other environmental factors can kill your tree.

Diseases and Insects 

You may be familiar with infections like Dutch Elm disease, which can quickly wipe out entire species of trees. However, it’s far more likely that just a common disease like oak wilt or anthracnose will be what causes a tree to die. Many diseases infect trees through wounds in the bark or roots, slowly and subtly killing the tree over time. 

Insects top the list of reasons trees perish, and they enter the same way as disease does. Pests directly cause death by attacking the tree, eating its foliage, and nesting in the inner part of the tree. However, they can also spread deadly fungi and diseases between specimens.

Environmental Issues

Tree mortality triggers come in many forms, including:

  • Drought
  • Excessive heat or cold
  • Air pollution
  • Ground pollution
  • Poor soil

While some tree species easily adapt to adverse conditions, others die due to the stress of being in a poor environment. For example, a tree that needs a lot of water will likely perish during drought conditions.

Tree Care Concerns

You’ll already know that taking proper care of the tree keeps it alive. Here are some things to avoid:

Improper Care 

Ask any arborist what kills trees in the first years after planting, and they’ll point to improper care, such as:

  • Planting a tree in the wrong spot
  • Over or under-watering
  • Planting too deep
  • A lack of proper nutrients

Physical Damage 

Lightning strikes, storm damage, and even improper pruning or trimming also leave your tree vulnerable to diseases and insects. 

Any time limbs break or the roots lack oxygen or nutrients, the tree can weaken to the point that it dies.

Get Help From Your Local Tree Experts 

If you have more questions about what causes a tree to die or need help understanding tree decline, get in touch with Fredericksburg, VA’s respected tree experts at ArborPro. 

Call (540) 379-8383 today for a tree expert to evaluate the health of the trees on your property, help getting a tree removal permit and safely cutting it down, and much more.

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