Dying beech tree?


Hello,I planted three trees together five years ago. The tree near the house is very different from the other two trees. The beech tree near the house now has few leaves and the leaves are yellow. The whole tree has no vitality and feels very weak. I am worried that the tree will die. I don’t know how to improve the condition of this tree.
Thank you very much!


From the photo you supplied, it does seem as though your beech tree is either terminally ill or has already died. To determine if it is alive, select a twig or small branch and scratch away a little bit of bark with your thumbnail or a small knife. If it is brown and brittle, check some other branches, since that one is dead. If it’s moist and green underneath, the  tree is still alive. But clearly, it is in trouble.

There are many problems which can beset trees. The other two beeches being healthy and vigorous does tend to suggest the problem specific to that one location. The most common beech problems, aphids and mildew, would have spread to all three of the trees.

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but is this tree in a rain shadow … in other words, a very dry spot because of the roof line or the nearby large trees we can see? (It does look as though the grass around the tree is dead.) Conversely, is this where your downspout empties, and the spot gets very wet?

It also looks as though there is something planted right up against the tree. Beeches have shallow roots and it is important not to dig right around them.

Could you have damaged the bark when mowing the lawn?

Without more information, we can’t diagnose the problem. But here is an excellent and comprehensive article from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which outlines many things for which you can look.

If the tree is still alive and you find evidence of any of the insects or diseases as described in the article, please get back to us and we may be able to recommend a solution. However, it might be wise to get immediate help from a professional arborist. To find a certified professional arborist to help you with a tree problem, visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s searchable database here.