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5 Signs Your Tree or Shrub is Sick & What To Do

When you’re sick, you usually know it. The signs are all there — sore throat, cough, runny nose, no appetite unless somebody offers you chocolate pudding, ice cream, or maybe soup.

But how to know if a tree or shrub is sick? They don’t even have throats, right? And how the heck do you even give a tree ice cream? 

Are there sick tree symptoms? There are. Say “aaaaahhhh” and let’s take a look.

1. Is My Tree Sick? Check for Spots on Leaves

Brown or yellow spots on the leaves of a tree or shrub are usually signs of stress or illness. 

A great example is Marssonina Leaf Spot, a fungal disease common in Idaho on aspen, poplar, and cottonwood trees. 

leaf spot

You’ll typically notice brown spots with yellow halos on the leaves. Many of these spots eventually merge together, creating large brown blotches.

2. Needles Turn Brown or Fall Off

When a spruce tree’s once healthy needles turn brown and fall off, it’s probably sick.

It’s likely a sign of Rhizosphaera Needle Cast, a fungal disease. 

Trees stressed from drought, poor planting practices, or other factors are more likely to suffer from it.

3. Gray Powdery Blotches

Yuck, that doesn’t sound healthy, does it? You’re right. 

Powdery Mildew

White to gray powdery spots, blotches or felt-like mats forming on leaves is probably powdery mildew, a fungal disease that commonly affects oak, maple, dogwood, magnolia, catalpa, and crabapple in Idaho.

4. Yellow Leaves That Never Get Green

Wow, that sounds sad. It’s definitely a sign of a sick tree or shrub. 

If your maple or aspen’s leaves are pale, it might have “iron chlorosis,” a nutrient deficiency. These trees often can’t absorb all the nutrients they need from the soil. Affected trees have yellowing leaves that never quite get green.

5. Sick Tree Symptoms: Branches are Thinning or Tips Are Dying

A healthy tree has full, vibrant branches right down to the tips. If you notice thin, bare spots or dead branch tips, that’s a sign of a sick tree or shrub.

Treatment for Sick Trees and Shrubs

Don’t bother heading to the corner pharmacy. Chicken soup won’t do the trick, either. 


Sick trees and shrubs need their own kind of medicine. Sometimes a heavy dose of fertilizer will boost a tree back to health. Other times, fungicides or other treatments are in order. 

Luckily, there are ways to deliver fast, effective treatment for sick trees and shrubs:

Tree Injections for a Shot of Healing

Tree injections are like shots for your trees. They deliver “medicine” to treat diseases and insects directly into your stressed tree. 

It’s injected right into the tree trunk, then quickly taken up by the vascular system and distributed throughout the tree.

This professional tree care treatment works faster and is more effective than spray treatments, which can take weeks to work.

Tree injection

Here in Idaho, these injections are often used for maple trees suffering from the iron chlorosis mentioned earlier.

Tree injections deliver micro-nutrients directly into the stressed tree and quickly work to replenish it.

If insects are killing your tree, these injections can treat infestations of borers, aphids, spider mites, and scale — fast. 

While other types of treatment require three to four treatments, tree injections just require one, and lasts for a whole year. It’s a great reason to sign up for Plant Health Care Services in Idaho Falls and Boise, ID.

Deep Root Tree Fertilization

How to get nurturing nutrients to your stressed tree ASAP? Go straight to its roots. 

Deep root tree fertilization injects nutrients for your stressed tree directly deep into the soil, rather than spreading it over the top.
By injecting the fertilizer with high pressure, nutrients like phosphorus and iron can reach the deepest tree roots fast, feeding your tree from the roots up. Your hungry tree gets an immediate nutrition boost. 

Then, over time, the nutrients make their way to the rest of your tree, making it healthier and more vibrant. It’s a great reason to hire professional tree and shrub care.

Are Your Trees and Shrubs Ready for a New Best Friend?

See signs of a sick tree or shrub? Come to the rescue with plant health care designed to work fast. 

A good plant health care program is your shrub’s best friend, offering food and fixes for every pest problem. Get your plant pride back with the best Idaho Falls and Boise plant health care services.

Expert plant health care for sick tree symptoms is available for our Idaho Falls and Boise customers who use our full-service lawn care program.

The first step is to sign up for our 6-step complete lawn care program.

You’ll be glad you did. 

Choose an Idaho Falls or Boise professional lawn care service that makes it easy, bundling your yard’s most-needed treatments into one convenient, no-fuss plan.

Fertilizing, weed control, grub control. Done. Expert tree and shrub services: Double done. 

We’ve got your back. 

Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to get started.
Fill out the form on this page.
Call us at (208) 656-9131.
Or read more about our services.
Then kick back and relax in your healthy, thriving yard.
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Image Source: Leaf spot, Powdery Mildew, Tree Injection

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