Mystery Oak Tree Decline


Canopy Dieback In An Oak Tree



If you have been seeing a lot of decline in your large trees oak trees this week you are not alone. Our Arborists have been noting an excessive amount of large trees, especially Oaks, showing symptoms of decline. Although the decline may seem like a mystery, it is most likely cause by an accumulation of different issues/stressors that your tree has suffered from in the past 3-5 years.

Symptoms Of Decline:


Epicormic Growth

  • Dieback at the tips of the outer branches
  • Epicormic Growth- Growth along the trunk of the tree
  • Excessive Deadwood

Common Issues:

It is most likely a combination of issues/stressors that put your tree in the predicament it is in now.  Common issues include but are not limited to, extra hot summers, extra cold winters, extreme weather changes, periodic leaf diseases, drought, and soil compaction.

Why Am I Seeing A Decline Now?

You may wonder why your tree didn’t show signs of decline when it was first faced with these issues. This is because trees grow slowly which means they also die slowly typically taking years to start showing symptoms and succumb to their stressors.

What Happens If I Do Nothing?

It’s possible that your tree could start making a comeback and survive but unless the issues that originally cause the decline have been solved this outcome is extremely unlikely. If you do nothing your tree will most likely keep declining, getting worse each year until it can no longer support itself and dies.


The best treatment for your oak tree or any species of  tree that is experiencing decline is a preventative one. It’s important to remember that trees in urban and suburban settings are not in their natural habitat. Trees naturally want to be in forests where the eco-system can provide them with everything they need to survive. Because our urban and suburban environment does not provide trees with everything they need, we as homeowners have to step up and provide them with what they are missing if we want them to survive.  This is best achieved through a SmartTreat™ Process that monitors your landscape and prevents problems before they occur.

Members of our Canopy Protection Plan, rest assured that your  program is using a proactive SmartTreat™ approach to maintain tree & shrub health and prevent stressors that lead to decline.

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Samantha Huff

Samantha Huff is the marketing coordinator at RTEC Treecare. She enjoys learning about the technical aspects of trees and the insects and diseases that prey on them. She hopes that these articles can help homeowners gain control of their tree and shrub maintenance by being aware of the signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.

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