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Diseases and Treatment

How to Diagnose an Unhealthy Tree

Insects and diseases can threaten tree health. Here are a few points to consider when diagnosing what may be wrong with your trees or plants.

  1. Accurately identify the plant. Many insects and diseases are plant-specific.
  2. Look for a pattern of abnormality. Compare the affected plant with other plants on your property, especially those of the same species.
  3. Carefully examine the landscape. The history of your property and your neighbours’ may reveal problems. Consider pathogens as well. Most living pathogens take a relatively long time to spread throughout an area. If a large percentage of plants become diseased virtually overnight, a pathogen is probably not involved.
  4. Examine the roots. Brown roots often indicate dry soil conditions or the presence of toxic chemicals. Black roots usually reflect overly wet soil or the presence of root-rotting organisms.
  5. Check the trunk and branches. Examine the trunk thoroughly for wounds as they provide entrances for pathogens and wood-rotting organisms. Large defects may indicate a potentially hazardous tree.
  6. Note the position and appearance of affected leaves. Twisted or curled leaves may indicate a viral infection, insect feeding or exposure to herbicides. Dead leaves at the top of the tree are usually the result of mechanical or environmental root stress.


The treatment method used for a particular insect or disease problem will depend on the species involved, the extent of the problem and a variety of other factors specific to the situation and municipal laws. Always consult a professional if you have any doubt about the nature of the problem or proper treatment.

Contact us today for more information about plant disease and treatments.

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Keeping Your Trees Healthy Since 1998

From pruning to disease treatment, we can help keep your yard beautiful.

Highland Tree Service Ltd

PO Box 532, Station A

Abbotsford, BC V2T 6Z7

P: 604-853-1884

F: 604-853-1874


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Monday - Friday 07:00 - 06:00

24-hour emergency service available

Service Area

  • Abbotsford

  • Coquitlam

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  • Surrey

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