Common Tree Problems

– Sweet Acacia (Acacia farnesiana)
– Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia)
– Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
– Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea)

What’s Wrong with My Trees?

One Two Tree understands the problems faced by trees that thrive in the subtropical climate of South Florida. Properly maintained trees are noticeably healthier, taller, and add aesthetic value to a property, but can face many issues due to improper care and natural challenges.


– Exposes tree to the sun
– Causes decline in health
– Disables ability to grow properly

Hatracking is the practice of removing 50% or more of a trees’ canopy, which can cause several problems for its growth and health.

It opens up the interior of the tree, making previously shaded portions vulnerable to sunburn. This can shock the tree by taking away the its energy-producing canopy, which causes massive regrowth of weakly attached, water-sprout sucker growths (epicormic branches) at each cut. All of these factors will lead to the decline and eventual death of the tree.


– Instantly kills trees
– Can cause fires and other damage
– Occur regularly

More lightning strikes occur in Florida than anywhere else in the United States, with less than half of all trees struck by lightning survive only for the moment. A lightning bolt can have a temperature as high as 60,000° F. After lightning strikes a tree, its’ electricity goes through the tree and into the ground. The voltage of the electrical charge in lightning is about 10 million to 100 million volts.

Tree Myth: Lightning does not strike in the same place twice.
Tree Fact: Many trees have a history of multiple strikes.

Soil Compaction

– Reduces Oxygen Content
– Can Kill Roots
– Reduces Pore Space

A common mistake made by tree owners is to build or pave over roots, and excavate on/around the tree trunk.

The heavy equipment used in construction compacts the soil and can dramatically reduce the amount of pore space. This compaction not only inhibits root growth and penetration but also decreases oxygen in the soil which is essential to the growth/function of the roots.

Nutrient Deficiency (Chlorosis)
– High Water Tables
– Symptom of disease
– Bad Soil Conditions

Chlorosis is a general yellowing of the leaf tissue, which is considered a general
deficiency in the health of a tree. These symptoms can be caused by high water tables, pH, disease, and soil conditions. Though, due to the minor nature of these deficiencies, they are often confused with other problems.


– Mites
– Ants
– Aphids

Insects can cause injury and damage to trees due to their invasive nature.

Their habits of gathering food or creating their nests cause gradual damage by defoliating trees, sucking their sap, or boring into the trunk and branches. Insects may also carry some tree diseases. but are considered secondary to problems brought on by tree-stress or sickness.


– Improper cuts
– Animals
– Storm Damage

Cavities in trees are the result of storm damage, animals, insects, and improper cuts, which open up the tree to infections, bacteria, insects, and disease.

These openings also weaken the strength structure of the tree by allowing elements into the vital transport tissues.

Weed Eater Rings (Cambium Layer Damage)

– Damages tree bark
– Can be caused by weed eater insects
– Kills tree if left untreated

The cambium layer (tree bark) of the tree is what transports the water and nutrients up from the roots to the leaves, where photosynthesis takes place. Vital nutrients such as sugars and carbohydrates are made, and sent back down to the roots where the entire process starts again. These tissues are susceptible to damage from mowing or weedeaters, which stops this vital flowing process, causing the tree to go into decline and eventually die.

Improper Installation

– Poor Tree Health
– Competes for light and root space
– Underdeveloped

If a tree is planted improperly, they undergo a noticeable state of decline as they are slow to develop.

Trees that are planted in the wrong locations to begin with will suffer from competition for light and root space. The top of the root ball should always be level with the ground, allowing for more pore space and growing room for newly planted trees..

Top Heavy Crown / Dense Canopy


– Improperly Balanced
– Susceptible to Toppling
– Safety Hazard

Trees that are excessively lifted never develop proper trunk diameters in relation to their canopies. Many are top heavy and off balance, which can cause them to falter easily under heavy weather conditions. During storms, dense upper canopies act as sails in the wind which allows for the possibility of broken branches or to buckle/topple under the power of the strong wind. Trees must be selectively pruned from the inside out so the air will pass through them without destroying the crown or blowing them over.


– Commonly found in Florida Soil
– Increases with soil moisture
– Can kill trees quickly

Phytophthora is a fungus that is found in all of Florida’s soils that thrives on excessive soil moisture.  When the soil remains wet for too long, either from long tropical downpours or an over-watering sprinkler system, the organism can move into a trees’ vascular system. This can kill the tree very quickly, which results in symptoms such as browning leaves & bleeding from the trees’ trunk. These symptoms act as a sign that the tree has been infected, but can be prevented if soil moisture is kept to proper levels. In South Florida, this is essential as the natural humidity can easily cause this fungus to grow.

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