It can be easy to forget that something as large and impressive as a tree could be killed by something as small as a termite! The truth is that there are quite a few threats to our trees in the desert, both native and nonnative alike. The good news is that with some careful attention, these threats can be treated, or avoided altogether! Here are some things to look out for:


Bark Beetles are tiny insects that are no larger than a grain of rice! They bore between the bark and the wood of the tree, damaging the health of the tree and often killing it. A tree suffering from a Bark Beetle invasion will have straw to rust like needles. The best-known cure is utilizing several chemical insecticides.

Ants and termites can also cause damage to the tree by using a tree for both feeding and also shelter. The damage done by these types of insects looks like small exit holes, and tubes of dust as well. Much like bark beetles, insecticides are the best way to combat the invaders.

Defoliators are exactly what they sound like; they feed on the photosynthetic materials of the tree, meaning the leaves or needles. The tree is starved when it’s unable to obtain nutrients from its leaves and repeated defoliation can lead to death. In addition to insecticides, timely pruning in the spring and treating with soapy water can prevent a common defoliator, Webworms, from taking over the tree.


Cankers are recognizable as localized, dark, discolored, and or decaying areas on a tree. Most often caused by trauma to the tree, cankers can spread bacteria to other parts as well. This can cause disfigurement or death in younger trees. Treatment involves pruning the area with sanitized tools and may be treated with a sanitizing solution as well to prevent the pathogen from spreading.

Prolonged moisture can lead to Black Spot. This fungus affects the leaves of the tree, causing small black spots and preventing the photosynthetic process. Treatment involves either chemical or natural fungicides, as well as changing the watering cycle to reduce fungus-loving, moist conditions.

On the other side of too much water, Powdery Mildew thrives in low water conditions. Identified through blistered and then curled leaves, this fungus works similarly to Black Spot – but thankfully can be treated the same as well with either chemical fungicides, or homemade remedies including a combination of baking soda, water, and non-detergent soap.

Other Threats

The Arizona desert is not known for its fantastic soil. Not only is it extremely compacted, it’s also often found to have high minerals, including salt. Analyzing the soil – usually through the plant’s reaction to the soil – can be an effective treatment. Adding Gypsum or lime to the soil can help to leach out salt and keep trees happier.

The amount of water a tree gets obviously plays a pivotal role in the tree’s health! But considering not only how much water the tree is getting, but how that water is draining is just as important. Keep an eye out for mushy earth or standing water around the tree and adjust accordingly.

Arizona Tree Trimming Can Help

Have questions about the health of your trees? Arizona Tree Trimming and Removal can help! And take advantage of our Service Specials: take $100 off of services totaling $500 or more and 50% off trimming of 10 trees or more! We have openings as soon as this week to get your yard ready in time for all your upcoming holiday parties and get-togethers. Contact us to schedule your appointment!

And be sure to check out the list of services that Arizona Tree Trimming provides! We can assist with everything from trimming and yard clean-up to tree removal and stump grinding, palm trimming, irrigation work, and cactus removal too. And don’t forget, we deliver wood chips to your door for FREE! Check out our service area for delivery.