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How To Save a Dying Oak Tree? Do This!

How To Save a Dying Oak Tree? Do This!

The oak tree is valued for its longevity, strength, and outstanding wood properties. This beautiful tree adapts well to the suburban yard, oak parks of inner cities, and the forest.

You will most likely see a variety of oak trees each time you leave your home.


How to Save a Dying Oak Tree?

When an oak tree is dying, cut off dying or sick branches, making sure no excess mulch stays around the oak tree. Also, drain excess water away from the tree.


What to do to save an oak tree


Cut off dying or sick branches

Cutting off or pruning unhealthy branches is a prudent way of saving a dying oak tree. This method targets symptoms such as poor structure, deadwood, or weak joints.

Usually, symptoms of an ill oak tree are definitely visible. Hence, the most effective method to prevent spreading the disease is through pruning them off.

Pruning unhealthy branches will help a dying oak tree by halting the spread of illness to another spot.

When pruning off sick branches, make sure to use the appropriate pruning method for each specific part of the tree, as various parts of the tree require different pruning methods.

To prevent re-infection, be sure to thoroughly clean, sterilize, and sharpen your equipment after pruning.


Avoid the use of excessive mulch

While mulch application is not an unhealthy practice in gardening and tending plants, overuse can be harmful.

Excessive use of mulch around the tree base suffocates the tree roots. The mulching material prevents the roots from breathing correctly.

The use of too much mulch causes the trunk and tree roots to rot and attract bacteria, fungi, and insects.

To avoid this, thin out areas of mulch that have accumulated with time.


Correct moisture problems

Overwatering causes a problem for trees, especially the younger ones, as they cannot withstand excessive water. Overwatering can also lead to tree decay.

The issue of too much moisture can be corrected by draining water away from the tree. If possible, ensure the tree has more direct sunlight.


Other Conditions Can Cause an Oak Tree to Become Unhealthy

An oak tree that is dying is easily recognized by dead branches, poor growth, and infested leaves.

Immediate treatment is required to save an oak tree that is dying and encourage healthy growth. If the following symptoms appear on your oak tree, it is probably dying and is time to act.



If a tree has patches of dead bark, it is a tree canker. Tree cankers are like human canker sores and are painful.

If a tree has an open wound, a tree canker can infect it. When the pathogen enters the tree, it attacks and causes stress, which progresses to a canker.

The good news is tree cankers can be pruned off, and the tree becomes healthy again.


Weak Structure

A weak oak tree may fall. An imperfect tree structure is typically caused by an unnatural growth pattern because of poor pruning, severe storms, or improper care when the tree was immature.


Weakened Joints

An oak tree with weakened joints is an oak tree that is dying. Joints weaken when the tree branches are loosely attached to the tree.

This is because branches grow together with bark in between them. Weak branches cause injury to both humans and properties. Plus, these weak branches increase the oak’s exposure to more infection.



There isn’t a description of the word deadwood, as the literal meaning is the wood is dry, dead, and easily broken.

The tree is very sick and almost dead if it shows deadwood, as it is the last symptom of a dying oak tree.



Tree decay is difficult to spot on dying oak trees. The decay typically starts on the inside, so it has already damaged the tree by the time it appears on the outside.

Breakable wood, spores resembling a mushroom, softwood, and an expanded base are visible tree decay symptoms.


Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is fatal to an oak tree, so even this treatment might be insufficient to save the oak from dying.

Girdling can develop, a root condition that inhibits new root growth. Oaks with this condition can have dead branches or missing leaves on one side of its structure only.


Other Interesting Information about Oak Trees

Like other trees and living organisms, oak trees can remain vital and fight off disease.

A dying oak tree threatens its surroundings, especially in a heavy traffic area. If your oak begins to show signs of death, attempt to save it.

Oak trees are the most profuse trees grown in most areas. Oak trees are hardy trees and can withstand many conditions.

Established trees can fight against disease and other health-threatening conditions or are brought about by insects or extreme weather conditions.

When an oak tree has a condition it cannot fight off, there is a critical need to save it.


Frequently Asked Questions About How To Save a Dying Oak Tree


Is my oak tree dead or dormant?

If you notice your tree has only a few leaves and isn’t growing, you perhaps wonder if the tree is dead or dormant. The two symptoms can be similar, including few leaves or an apparent lack of growth, so it can be confusing. The safest way to ascertain if your oak tree is dead or dormant is by consulting with a tree specialist.


Can you determine if your tree is dormant?

Dormant trees are neither dead nor dying. They’re just experiencing a process that’s similar to hibernation. This will typically happen during the winter when cold, harsh temperatures cause trees to drop most or many of their leaves, stop producing new leaves and halt their active growth cycle.


Are there ways I can determine if my tree is dead or dormant?

You can find out by bending a twig to see if it snaps. If it can be bent or split, showing new growth within, it remains healthy. Scratch the bark of a twig using a knife or fingernail. If you can see the growth that’s greenish in hue under the bark, the higher the chances that the tree’s merely dormant. The oak tree, however, could be dead or dying if the wood’s dry and brown underneath.