Top Factors That Lead to a Tree’s Death

October 16, 2017

Few living things have the ability to fend off stressors like trees do. Over millions of years, trees have evolved to combat damage, disease, and other challenges. A tree has the unique ability to compartmentalize itself to seal off dead wood and disease, defoliate to reduce the effect of drought, and bleed to extract harmful insects. However, all trees eventually die. In this blog post, we will look at some of the most common factors that lead to the death of a tree.

  1. Environment – As explained in this article from ThoughtCo., the conditions on which a tree lives determines the environmental stressors. For example, a drought-sensitive tree that lives on a dry site during drought conditions is likely to die from lack of water. Adverse environments can also include poorly draining soils, salty soils, air and ground pollution, and others. Before you plant your next tree, be sure to understand the species’ genetic tolerance to certain conditions. There’s no question that trees can adapt, however, you want to set them up for success in the early stages.
  2. Disease – If you haven’t done so already, be sure to read our last post titled “What You Should Know About Dutch Elm Disease.” This isn’t the only tree disease to be concerned with, though. Armillaria root rot, oak wilt, and anthracnose can all do major damage to trees. With these diseases, pathogens invade the tree through leaves, roots and bark wounds, and damage a tree’s vascular system if not treated or prevented in the first place. Along with disease comes insects. These unwelcome visitors invade trees under stress from environmental problems and disease. The tricky thing with harmful insects is that they can actually spread a disease from a host tree to neighboring ones. Whether it’s creating nesting cavities or defoliating a tree, insects pack a punch. Be wary of pine beetles, the gypsy moth, and emerald ash borers.
  3. Catastrophic events – There are cases where trees are damaged to the point where they just don’t have the vitality to come back strong. Unfortunately, a tree without vigor is inviting for insects and disease. In the Chicago climate, trees are forced to spar with extreme changes in weather. When heavy ice is deposited on species sensitive to limb weight, breakage occurs. Flooding, on the other hand, can cause root oxygen levels to decrease to the point of tree damage. Then there’s drought, which literally saps the life out of moisture-loving trees.
  4. Age – Some trees are capable of living for centuries. That said, all species die at some point. A modular tree compartmentalizes around damage and disease, continuing to grow. Over the years, though, a tree is unable to support itself. Toward the end of its lifetime, a tree slowly collapses under its own weight, becoming nutrients for future trees.
  5. Timber harvests – Believe it or not, some folks don’t realize that trees die by the ax. Thanks to the work of professional foresters, we can enjoy a sustained flow of usable wood volume in addition to plenty of healthy trees.  


At Pro Tree Service, we encounter trees that are dead, diseased, and/or damaged. Often times, tree removal is the only solution. Rest assured that our team is fully licensed, insured, and bonded to remove trees. We can even safely work our way around hazards such as municipal power lines, commercial properties, poisonous wildlife, and neighboring houses. Since 1989, our team has been committed to providing the best tree care solutions at the most competitive rates through our Best Price Guarantee. Unlike the average tree company in the area, we guarantee that we will match or beat any reasonable, written estimate by 10 percent.

Our tree removal service doesn’t just involve cutting down a tree and moving on to the next job. Full-service tree removals include removal of all branches, logs, and major debris. Please note that tree stump removal is included in our estimates. For an additional charge, we are more than happy to remove stump remains as well.

Don’t let that unsightly dead tree take away from the beauty of your home and yard. Instead, call Pro Tree Service today for a free estimate.

Get a FREE Estimate

Estimates can be scheduled any day of the week.

Service hours: 24 hours/7 days a week.