Why Do Trees Die? The Primary Culprits

Healthy, mature trees are always a wonder to behold, whether on residential or commercial properties. Over time, however, both internal and external factors take their toll. If you have encountered a dying tree on your property, you might have wondered why trees die and whether you can prevent this process. 

When our clients come to us to help remove dying or dead trees from their property, we are always prepared with the necessary tools and experience. Tree removal in Charlotte, NC, by Frady Tree Care offers competitive rates, reliable services, and trustworthy specialists for all our clients in the Charlotte area and nearby counties. 

5 Reasons for Tree Deaths

While trees are generally long-lived no matter the species, it is always sad whenever a tree begins to die. Depending on the cause, it can be fast or slow, and you might not always notice the warning signs. There are cases in which a dying tree can be saved, but if the situation becomes too dire, there is no other option than complete removal.

Here are five reasons that cause tree deaths.

1.   Poor Environmental Conditions

Soil, water, relative humidity, and the amount of sunlight all play critical roles in determining a tree’s health in conjunction with its species. Any imbalance in these factors could cause a tree to die. In extreme cases, even robust trees can die in a matter of days. Fast-dying drought trees, for example, can be observed during a high amount of prolonged rainfall and little drainage. In essence, the trees drown due to the excess water in the environment. 

2.   Pests and Pathogens

Pests refer to insects, rodents, nematodes, and birds. Pathogens refer to any organisms that cause diseases, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Pests typically inflict physical damage on trees, which causes an opening that allows pathogens to infect the tree system. This two-point attack is more common in weak and young trees.

Bark beetles, for example, will attack the bark and interior, causing the tree to weaken over time by limiting water and nutrient transfer. The weakened tree system becomes vulnerable to secondary attacks from any number of pathogens. Some pests and pathogens are species-specific, while others can infect multiple species.

3.   Natural Disasters 

Natural disasters can cause both physical damages to the tree as well as an abrupt change in the tree’s immediate surroundings. Physical damages not only compromise a tree’s health but also leave the trees vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Extreme natural disasters such as fires, severe drought, earthquakes, and floods can kill a tree instantly. However, leaving a tree to endure prolonged consequences of a natural disaster, such as standing groundwater from a flood, can also kill a tree. 

4.   Human Activities 

Human activities such as construction and improper soil tillage can also kill trees if not done correctly. If you have any valuable trees standing on a property you want to develop, you will need to work with an experienced arborist to create a tree conservation plan. 

5.   Old Age

Trees die; it’s the natural order of things. Even if a tree has optimal growing conditions throughout its lifetime, the time will come when the tree can no longer support growth. It may be a slow death, but it is inevitable. 

Time to Say Goodbye to Your Tree? Let Us Help

Having a dying tree on your property is never an easy situation, and it is up to you as a responsible tree owner to ensure that the tree is removed respectfully and safely. Learn about the signs you need for tree removal by calling us today. 


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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