what is causing my trees to die

Asked June 4, 2019, 4:34 PM EDT

I believe I have identified this tree as a sassafras, but not totally sure. I have attached a picture of the leaves. I have also attached a picture of the bark and one of the smaller dead trees, you can kind of see the larger tree in the back is half dead too. I have about a dozen of these trees on my property some are already dead and most dying. I looks like some kind of insect is burrowing in the tree?? What is it? And is there anything that can be done to save the trees. or should they just all be cut down?

Allegan County Michigan

1 Response


This tree should develop the “mitten shaped” leaves if it is Sassafras. Here is an ID tool to compare it- https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/sassafras-albidum/

The missing bark could be from deer rubs, or from woodpeckers searching for insects. There are several insects that live on sassafras and other hardwood trees-pitted ambrosia beetle, redheaded ash borer are a couple that can eventually kill the trees.

Many insects are attracted to trees of a certain size, or to stressed trees. Drought conditions, injuries to trunk by weeding-mowing tools or wildlife, and severe winters can stress the trees making them more susceptible.

Hire a certified arborist to go over the whole stand and give you a positive ID, a diagnosis and care plan. (Certified arborists have taken training in pests and disease, and passed certification tests). Find certified professionals here- www.treesaregood.org

Here are some references-




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