How to Identify and Relieve Stress in Your Trees

Date August 03, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

When it comes to caring for trees, it’s important to be able to identify the common causes of stress. Trees communicate their stressors in various ways, and understanding what they are saying is imperative to treat them. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some common causes of tree stress and what you can do to relieve your stressed trees. If you’re looking for tips on identifying stressed trees, we’ve got you covered too!

What Causes Stress in Trees?

While many believe the main culprit behind stressed trees is pests and disease, human activity is a major contributor to urban and suburban tree stress. Construction and compaction are also significant stressors because these trees grow in communities and around homes. Compounded with drought and heat stress, trees in residential and commercial environments often fail to live out their full natural lifespans.

The earlier you can identify tree stress, the better. Understanding tree stress symptoms and being proactive in treating them can prevent serious problems down the line.

Human Behaviors Causing Tree Stress

While people don’t do anything to harm their trees purposefully, certain behaviors can lead to tree stress. Some of these behaviors can include:

  • Overwatering – applying too much or too little water to trees, especially after planting, can injure roots and cause stress.
  • Excessive fertilizer application – applying too much fertilizer can lead to root injury and encourage rapid but weak growth, increasing the tree’s susceptibility to insects and diseases.
  • Yard work – mechanical injuries from lawnmowers and weed whackers can damage tree bark and increase the opportunity for invasion by disease and pests.
  • Soil compaction – trees planted in areas of high foot or vehicle traffic can destroy soil structure leading to compaction. Soil compaction reduces the level of oxygen in the soil, slows water absorption, and hinders root development.

Environmental Factors Contributing to Tree Stress

Urban and suburban environments impose unique stressors on trees. Some of these factors include:

  • Drought
  • Pollution
  • Poor planting methods
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Heat stress

Signs of Stressed Trees

Stressed tree symptoms develop slower than symptoms of disease or pests, and prolonged display of these symptoms can mean that the tree is suffering from chronic stress.

  • Abnormally small leaves
  • Pale green or yellow coloration of leavesSlow or halted tree growth
  • Premature fall coloration
  • Early leaf drop
  • Twig and branch dieback
  • Leaf wilt
  • Peeling bark
  • Cankers
  • Pests
  • Leaf scorch
  • Fungus protruding from stems and branches

If your trees show any of these symptoms, it’s critical to immediately contact an ISA Certified Arborist at (817) 592-6846, who can diagnose the problem and develop a tree wellness plan.

Tree Maintenance: How to Relieve Your Stressed Trees

Proactive tree care is essential to keeping your trees healthy and thriving. Routine plant health services are the best way to prevent and mitigate stress in trees and ensure their health and vigor.

Tree Pruning

Tree pruning is an essential element in tree care as it selectively removes dead, damaged, or diseased branches. This eliminates the crowding of branches and stems, and corrective tree pruning prevents structural problems. It also helps you shape the tree into an aesthetically appealing structure. Pruning can be dangerous and cause additional damage if done improperly. That’s why you should always leave tree pruning to an expert tree surgeon. This will ensure your property’s safety and maximize your tree’s benefits.


While everyone knows trees need water, homeowners don’t often understand how much a tree needs nor adhere to proper watering techniques. When watering, it’s vital to water up to the drip line, which extends as far out as the canopy. Water should penetrate the soil to a depth of at least 10 inches to ensure the roots are hydrated.


Trees growing in forests can rely on nutrients made available by the rocks, soil, and the decay of organic matter. Trees in residential landscapes may not get all the nutrients they need. Therefore, applying fertilizer around the tree may be necessary to provide essential elements for lasting growth. Since over-fertilization is a common cause of tree stress, contact an ISA Certified Arborist to help you determine which nutrients your tree lacks and provide you with the right type of fertilizer to sustain your tree.


Mulching involves placing organic material over the surface of the soil surrounding your tree. This is to keep the soil cool during heat waves and drought conditions. Mulch helps keep trees cool, reduces moisture loss from the soil, and can eliminate weeds competing with the tree for nutrients. Mulch can also help prevent mechanical damage from lawnmowers and weed trimmers.

Disease/insect control

Healthy trees are often resistant to pests and diseases, but environmental stressors and chronic stress can increase susceptibility to infection and infestation. Issues relating to disease and insects are often secondary to stress, but they play a role in tree health. A DFW tree care company, like TreeNewal, can help you determine what’s wrong with your tree, the source of the problem, and what to do about it. Consult a tree care specialist for the best form of treatment.

TreeNewal Plant Health Services

Keeping trees healthy and beautiful requires consistent tree maintenance and a tree wellness plan. TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists have decades of experience treating and preventing stressed trees. No matter what the cause, our dedicated team of tree care specialists knows how to help. Contact us today and enjoy tailored tree care advice to promote and ensure the health of your Dallas trees.


To learn more about How to Identify and Relieve Stress in Your Trees?, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at (817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

We’re a little different than the average tree services company.

Learn more about TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists!

Our Dallas/Fort Worth-based tree doctors can explain how sustainable tree care services add more value to your bottom line.

Healthy trees, healthy lives.