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How to Save a Dying Oak Tree

Do you know how to save a dying oak tree? If you don’t, then you’re going to learn how in today’s article.

Oak trees make up the largest proportion of trees that are grown in most yards and landscapes. Oak trees are hard trees and can withstand a lot of various conditions.

Some of these conditions fatally affect the tree that the tree branches wither and, most times, eventually die off.

However, when they are mature and established, most trees possess the ability to fight against diseases and other health-threatening conditions that are brought about by extreme weather conditions and insects.

When an oak tree is plagued with such a condition and unable to fight them off, there is an urgent need to save the dying oak tree.

Read Also: How to Save a Dying Cherry Tree

Symptoms of a Dying Oak Tree

symptoms of a dying oak tree

A dying oak tree is easily recognized by signs of poor growing conditions such as dead branches and infested leaves.

Quick and prompt treatment is essential to save the dying oak tree and encourage healthy growth. The following are some of the symptoms of a dying oak tree. When you see these on your oak tree, that is an urgent call to action!


Cankers are patched of dead barks on an oak tree or any other tree. Tree cankers appear similar to the human canker sore and are both painful as a result of diseases caused by stress.

A tree canker is caused by bacteria and /or fungi that infect the tree via an open cut wound. Once the pathogen gains entry into the tree, it attacks the tree and causes stress to it, which progresses to result in a canker.

The excellent news about tree cankers is that they can be pruned off the tree, and the tree becomes free and healthy again.

Poor Structure

An oak tree can have a poor structure that might lead to the tree falling. A poor tree structure is usually caused by an unnatural growth pattern in the tree either as a result of poor pruning, severe storms, and lack of proper training at the tree’s tender age.

Weak Joints

An oak tree having weak unions or weak joints is a clear indication of a dying oak tree. Weak joints appear as the tree branches loosely attached to the tree.

This is caused by branches that grow together with barks in between them. A weak branch can readily fall off at any given time, to either hurt a human or property or expose the oak tree to more infections.


When an oak tree shows a symptom such as deadwood, it means that the tree is severely sick and almost dead. There is no such much information or description to the term deadwood, as it literally means that the wood is dead, dry, and can easily break without much ado.

Deadwood is often regarded as the last symptom of a dying oak tree or any tree.


Tree decay is one of the most challenging symptoms of a dying oak tree to spot because the decay usually starts from the inside first, and before it appears on the outside, it has caused a lot of damages.

Visible tree decay symptoms include spores that look like a mushroom, breakable wood, softwood, and an expanded base.

How to Save a Dying Oak Tree

Now that you know what the symptoms of a dying oak tree are and how to identify them, you need to save the dying oak tree.

You may choose to allow the oak tree die off if you do not have any other use for it, and perhaps, you feel it has grown so old and may cause more harm if you keep attempting to revive it.

Outlined below are different means by which you can save a dying oak tree;

Cut Off Sick or Dying Branches

Pruning or cutting off sick branches is a reasonable means of saving a dying oak tree. This curative procedure targets symptoms such as deadwood, poor structure, and weak joints.

These symptoms are usually clearly visible to plant owners, and the best thing to do is to prune them out.

Pruning sick branches helps a dying oak tree by stopping the spread of the illness from the current site of infection to another site.

While pruning off these sick branches, ensure to use the appropriate method of pruning for every specific part of the oak tree. As you should know, various tree parts require different pruning techniques.

To avoid re-infection, ensure to clean, sterilize, and sharpen your pruning instruments after pruning.

Read Also: Best Pruning Shears for Arthritic Hands

Do Not Use Excessive Mulch

Mulch application is not an unhealthy practice in gardening or tending plants. It, however, becomes unhealthy when you use too much of it. This curative procedure is targeted at preventing tree decay.

When you use an excessive amount of mulch around your tree base, you suffocate the tree roots. The mulching materials prevent the roots from breathing properly.

Excessive mulching can also cause the tree roots and trunk to rot and eventually attract insects, fungi, and bacteria.

To prevent any of these from happening, you should thin out areas of the mulch that have built up overtimes.

Read Also: Does Mulch Attracts Bugs?

Correct Moisture Problems

Overwatering causes a considerable problem to trees, most especially the younger trees. The older trees have the ability to withstand excessive water and prolonged dryness, but not the younger trees. Overwatering also leads to tree decay.

To correct this problem of too much moisture, you would need to drain the water away from the tree and introduce more direct sunlight to the tree.


An oak tree, like the other trees and other living organisms, has the ability to fight off diseases and remain vital. However, its immunity fails some times, and there is a need for external help, hence; knowing how to save a dying oak tree.

A dying oak tree poses a threat to itself and its surroundings, especially when it is satiated in a heavy traffic location. So if your oak tree begins to show signs of death, you should save it, if not for itself but your life and valuable property.