How To Bring a Tree Back To Life: Is It Possible?

Does that once-vibrant tree in your yard now look more like a piece from a spooky movie set? Don’t call it quits and start chopping down your specimen just yet. As Clovis’ reliable tree service, our team at Cut Rite Tree Service knows how to bring a tree back to life with a blend of science and skill. Keep reading as we break down the nitty-gritty details so you can make informed choices for your living landscape.

Identifying a Struggling Tree

Early detection is the key to a successful recovery. If your green giant exhibits any of the following symptoms, it might require urgent care:

  • Bare or dead branches
  • Discolored or wilted foliage
  • Cracked, peeling bark
  • Evidence of pests or diseases, such as fungal bodies or mud tunnels
  • Root system damage or soil heave around the base, and signs of tree decay like hollow or soft spots in the trunk

How do you differentiate an already dead specimen from a live one? You can conduct a “scratch test,” where you choose a small twig on the tree and lightly scrape off a bit of bark with your fingernail. Green and moist flesh underneath signals life, while a brown, dry layer indicates that part of the tree may be dead. Test other branches before making the final call.

What To Do if Your Tree Is Dying

The process of determining how to bring a tree back to life depends on the cause of its declining health. Common culprits include the following.

Dutch Elm’s Disease

This disease comes from a fungus that blocks a tree’s water transport system, and yellow, wilting leaves are the first sign. Trimming infected parts from the crown down, coupled with fungicide injections, can often rescue a specimen in the early stages of infection.

Fire Blight

The fire blight is a bacterium that earned its name from the scorched, blackened appearance it imparts to its victims. Cut away the most visibly affected areas and spray a streptomycin or terramycin antibiotic all over the tree and the immediate vicinity.

Sudden Oak Death

Sudden oak death lives up to its ominous name by causing rapid defoliation and branch dieback. Experts advise applying a phosphonate and surfactant mixture on the trunk, and the tree should recover after five weeks when addressed early.

American Chestnut Blight

Does your beloved chestnut sport orange-colored spots or cankers on its branches and trunk? It likely has a cryphonectria parasitica infection. Modern treatments include applying hypovirulent strains of the fungus, which can render it harmless over time, or a soil compress method to inhibit its growth.

When Nothing Works

If your tree is dead, you can still repurpose the specimen in various ways, including:

  • A wildlife nesting site
  • Lumber from hardwood varieties
  • Firewood
  • Mulch or woodchips
  • Landscape design

Consult a Certified Arborist

At Cut Rite Tree Service, we know how to bring a tree back to life and conduct a tree removal when all else fails. Talk to us about your gardening concerns by calling 559-320-7723 or explore our blog, where we answer questions like “Do trees ever stop growing?”


We are a locally owned company that prides ourselves in providing the best service possible for the residents of Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Folwer, Reedley and the surrounding areas.

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1806 N Temperance
Fresno, CA 93727


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