We all are aware of the fact that trees will ultimately come to their end. The same agent is responsible for the death of a tree of all ages & only the ones which are the most adaptive make it to old age. Below are the ten factors which lead a tree to its death.

Table of content

A) Adverse surroundings
B) Disease & insects that are harmful
C) disastrous catastrophic Events
D) Ageing
F) Girdling
E) Timber harvesting
G) Powerlines
H) Not Loving them

1) Adverse surroundings

A tree can get stressed depending on the conditions of the site & the ground on which it lives. For example, if a drought-sensitive tree is grown on dry land during drought conditions, a lack of water might lead to its death. But other life-threatening factors can also influence the same tree for e:g Disease, which is harming a tree might only be a secondary issue due to the initial environmental problem. Some examples of poor environments are draining & salty soils, Pollution on the ground & water, extreme heating of the sun & many more. It is therefore recommended to consider the species of the trees when planting them. First, you need to understand which species of a tree will fit where.

2) Disease & insects

Certain dangerous diseases like Dutch elm disease & chestnut blight can cause a tree to die suddenly, but many of them are killed by the most common conditions that cost billions of dollars to a tree or a yard owner. Armillaria root rot, oak wilt, and anthracnose are those common diseases. These diseases damage a tree’s vascular system by entering it through its leaves or bark wounds if not treated during its initial stage. In addition, trees are often invaded by insects under stress due to disease or various environmental problems. They don’t only cause a tree to die but can also spread fungi to its surrounding ones. A cambial layer of the tree can be attacked by the insects nesting cavities & boring for food, or insects can defoliate it to such an extent that it can cause death. Pine beetles, emerald as borers & the gypsy moth are the insects that are responsible for these activities.

3) Disastrous events

A disastrous event can take place in any forest as well as in an urban area. All the properties, which include trees, can get damaged or destroyed. In most cases, the tree does not die, but they lose their resistance which is taken advantage of by various deadly diseases & insects. Natural calamities like tornados or forest fires can cause significant tree losses. Trees are badly damaged during the winter season when heavy ice is deposited on a tree species, which is weight sensitive. A tree can also be damaged due to diminishing levels of oxygen caused due to floods that do not recede quickly. Drought can cause severe damage to moisture-loving trees & all other trees if it extends for longer.

4) Old age

Trees that beat all odds and make it through old age get into a slow dying process that might take centuries to get completed. The modular tree continues to grow by compartmentalizing around damaging & infected areas. However, after a tree matures, its growth starts slowing down & its ability to support itself diminishes. Immature branches are known as epicormic sprouts trying to assist & maintain the vigor of an old tree, but they are so insufficient & weak that they cannot sustain life for very long. Finally, a tree slowly collapses under its weight & becomes nutrients & topsoil for future trees.

Above, we discussed the natural factors now. Let’s discuss how we harm the trees as humans:

1) Girdling

Girdling can strangle a tree. Covering a tree’s base with plastic or metal is not just good practice. Instead, consider the option of mulching to keep the bottom of your tree weed & worry-free. This combination of a small amount of herbicide and mulch will help tremendously preserve the moisture & weed competition.

2) Timber harvesting

We want to point the fact that trees do die to an ax. The tree has supported civilization & humankind for centuries & continues to do so. Professional forester’s activity of foresting has provided a sustainable flow of available volume of wood & have also ensured surplus of trees—deforestation of also considered to be contributing to the growing global crisis.

3) Powerlines

Trees planted near powerlines can cause harm both to people & themselves. Electricity can transfer through trees to the ground & can cause serious injury to the people coming into contact with this path. Activities can include touching, climbing, cutting, or trimming down the trees, resulting in severe burns or being electrocuted. It can also damage the tree on its way setting the tree on fire.

4) Not loving them enough

Trees health needs to be taken care of but is ignored most of the time other opportunities & problems. Improper maintenance of a tree can leads to its death. There are lots of roles & responsibilities which come along the way of being a tree owner. First, to protect your tree from suffering severe harm. It’s our responsibility to nurse a tree back to its or its health & provide it with a healthy future. Avoid injury to a tree at all costs & follow the correct method of pruning, which will reduce the risk of death of a tree. Make it a habit of maintaining it regularly & also provide enough attention when a tree gets injured.


Varun Shanbhag is a digital marketing professional and blogger with a strong passion for writing. He shares views and opinions on topics related to Indian festivals & a lot more.


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