The beautiful, mature trees in your backyard can become diseased or even die, but with prompt attention, you may be able to save the tree or those around it. Here are three signs that your tree is dying.

Its leaves are falling out

It's normal for your deciduous trees to shed their leaves during the fall, but if your trees lose some or all of that their leaves in the height of summer, your trees may be in trouble. Prematurely shedding leaves can be a sign of a variety of fungal or bacterial infections.

Dutch Elm disease is one fatal tree disease which causes trees to shed their leaves prematurely. This disease can take several years to kill your trees, but most affected trees will die eventually. Bacterial blights, a bacterial disease, can also kill trees in some cases.

Fortunately, there are other tree diseases that can lead to prematurely shedding leaves without killing your tree, like leaf spot or leaf blister. Before you panic about losing your beautiful backyard trees, have a tree service come out and diagnose the problem.

Its bark is falling off

Some types of trees, like silver maples or birch trees, naturally shed large pieces of bark in the winter, but for other types of trees, like oak or elm trees, it can be a sign of a major problem.

Tree bark can be damaged by frost or by the sun, and if this damaged bark sheds from the tree, the wood underneath will be exposed. If a lot of wood is exposed, the tree may die.

Peeling bark can also be a sign of Hypoxylon canker, a serious fungal disease. This disease can't be treated, so if it's the cause of your tree's peeling bark, your tree will need to be cut down and burned to protect other trees in the area.

It has cankers

Cankers are open wounds on a tree's bark, and they are a bad sign. These wounds can be a sign of Cytospora canker, a type of fungal disease. These cankers blend into the healthy bark, but patches of white resin on top of the cankers can make them easier to spot.

The only way to deal with Cytospora canker is to prune the infected areas before the fungus can spread to other parts of the tree. If the cankers are able to grow around the diameter of the tree's trunk, your tree will be girdled and it will die. Prompt treatment is important to keep your tree from suffering this fate.

If any of the trees on your property are prematurely shedding their leaves, losing their bark, or developing cankers, they may be dying and should be evaluated by a tree service right away. Call a company like Souliere & Son Tree SpeclSts for more information.