What Causes a Tree to Die on One Side?

Have you noticed your tree with leaves on only one side, resembling green leaves on a dead tree? The side with no leaves could be dead, but what causes a tree to die on one side yet remain healthy on the other?

 In this post, we delve deeper to explore the causes of this fascinating phenomenon, as explained by trusted tree removal experts in Girard, OH.  

Tree Diseases (Verticillium Wilt, Phytophthora Root Rot)

Tree diseases, such as Verticillium Wilt, may kill your tree on one side as they spread. In severe cases, the disease damages the tree’s vascular system and clogs the veins. This hampers the supply of nutrients to the leaves along the affected branch. 

Eventually, the leaves die, and the limb won’t survive either. Diseases like Phytophthora Root Rot affect the root system in a similar manner, with the same outcome. 

Luckily, you can save your tree if you act early enough. Call a qualified arborist as soon as you notice the first signs of trouble, and they’ll advise on the appropriate course of action. 

Soil Compaction

The soil in which your tree grows plays an integral role in its health. Ever wondered why trees planted on sidewalks usually have one side looking healthy, whereas the other remains dull and uninspiring? Here‘s why. 

When vehicles, machinery, or people step over the ground, they compress the soil and close the air pockets. Consequently, your tree will have a difficult time breathing or extending roots to access sufficient nutrients and water. 

Adequately aerating the soil can help you avert this problem. You can punch holes into the soil or turn over the topsoil, then ensure human and vehicle traffic doesn’t put too much weight onto the area. 

Other Likely Causes of Tree Death on One Side

When trying to figure out what causes a tree to die on one side, you might also land on any of these culprits:

Root Damage

Damaged roots may also cause your tree to die on one side. While this is often deadliest when erosion exposes the roots, the damage could also result from various other factors like an injury or pest infestation. 

Lightning Strikes

How does lightning cause tree death on one side? When it strikes your tree, it causes the sap to vaporize in the veins, which might kill the affected part of the tree. 

If your tree suffers a lightning strike, don’t hesitate to call a qualified arborist to evaluate the situation. They may cut dead branches off and develop a strategy to help your tree recover. 

Damage From Insects

When insects bore into the bark, this may lead to the tree’s dieback on one side. Additionally, they can denude your tree by eating all foliage on one side. It pays to be always on the lookout for insect damage and call a professional at the first sign of trouble. 

Stem-Girdling Root

Another common cause of tree dieback on one side is girdling roots, which wrap around the tree’s trunk or other roots. These roots may look attractive around the trunk, but they’ll expand and choke your tree over time. 

This hampers the flow of nutrients and water, which can be fatal. You should get rid of these roots carefully and safely to prevent further damage. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Need to know more about what causes a tree to die on one side? Turn to our experts at Starwood Tree Service. We’re your trusted local arborist, providing a wide range of services, including tree removal. Contact us at (330) 231-5022 for a free estimate or to learn about getting rid of lichen on trees.

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