Symptoms and signs of a diseased tree include dying or dead limbs that are brittle and gray in color. The presence of insects such as tent caterpillars feeding on the greenery may also indicate disease.
New growth at the bottom of the tree and the presence of mushrooms at the tree’s base are additional signs of an unhealthy tree. Dying limbs may still have leaves on them, but the leaves appear smaller and less robust. They are also fewer in quantity on a limb that is dying.
While it is common to find insects on trees, certain insects, such as the tent caterpillar, are extremely destructive and can introduce disease. Tent caterpillars feed on the leaves, removing the food source of the tree and starving it. Over time, tent caterpillars can eventually kill a tree.
Fresh shoots at the base of a tree can indicate that the roots are starved or being suffocated, or that damage to the leaves is preventing the tree from getting adequate nutrients. A qualified arborist can determine the cause and diagnose the problem.
Mushrooms are an indication that a tree may be rotting or already dead on the inside. Mushrooms require decaying matter in order to grow, and their presence is often the first sign of a tree’s internal decay.