What happens to a citrus tree when it dies? Usually, they go through a process where the leaves turn yellow, dry out, and eventually fall off the tree. This will leave what we call the “citrus tree skeleton” sitting in the grove. You can’t leave those kinds of trees in the grove because not only are they not productive, but they are unsightly and in cases where the tree is not completely dead yet, may continue to help spread disease. These trees are pulled out of the ground and often stacked so they can dry out further. Once they are ready, the trees are burned to clear the land for the next tree that will go in it’s place. The photo above shows one of these dead trees staged to the side of what growers call a “burn pile”. You can see the roots of the tree on the right, and what used to be the canopy of the tree on the left side of the photo.