Research has documented crown damage in trees from the radiation from cell towers, initially with characteristic bleaching and drying of leaf margins. Leaf and then die-off progresses across the tree from the more- to less-exposed side.


“Wireless” electromagnetic frequencies that are used for telecommunications have been observed to alter the growth and development of plants, such as altered growth1 as well as adverse cell characteristics such as thinner cell walls and smaller mitochondria,2 and lower biomass with fewer chloroplasts.3

An analysis of 45 peer-reviewed scientific publications (1996–2016) on changes in plants due to the non-thermal RF-EMF effects from mobile phone radiation entitled “Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants4 summarizes that plants perceive and respond with physiological and morphological changes to electromagnetic frequencies used in telecommunications.4 It concludes, “Our analysis demonstrates that the data from a substantial amount of the studies on RF-EMFs from mobile phones show physiological and/or morphological effects (89.9%, p < 0.001). Additionally, our analysis of the results from these reported studies demonstrates that the maize, roselle, pea, fenugreek, duckweeds, tomato, onions and mungbean plants seem to be very sensitive to RF-EMFs. Our findings also suggest that plants seem to be more responsive to certain frequencies….”

Field studies of trees

​​ A study on Aspen trees near Lyons, Colorado entitled “Adverse Influence of Radio Frequency Background on Trembling Aspen Seedlings”5 published in the International Journal of Forestry found adverse effects on growth rate and fall anthocyanin production, concluding that “results of this preliminary experiment indicate that the RF [radiofrequency] background may be adversely affecting leaf and shoot growth and inhibiting fall production of anthocyanins associated with leaf senescence in Trembling Aspen seedlings. These effects suggest that exposure to the RF background may be an underlying factor in the recent rapid decline of Aspen populations. Further studies are underway to test this hypothesis in a more rigorous way.” 

Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations, published in Science of the Total Environment, reported monitoring of over 100 trees for 9 years.6 Scientists found a high level of damage to trees in the vicinity of phone masts, and concluded that “deployment has been continued without consideration of environmental impact.” This study was followed by the 2017 Report “Tree damage caused by mobile phone base stations An observation guide” that documents crown damage in trees in the line of sight of mobile phone base stations. Examples of images may be viewed below.

Images from these studies are shared below, with permission.


1.         Halgamuge MN, Yak SK, Eberhardt JL. Reduced growth of soybean seedlings after exposure to weak microwave radiation from GSM 900 mobile phone and base station. Bioelectromagnetics. 2015;36(2):87–95.

2.         Soran ML, Stan M, Niinemets Ü, Copolovici L. Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants. J Plant Physiol. 2014 Sep 15;171(15):1436–43.

3.         Stefi AL, Margaritis LH, Christodoulakis NS. The effect of the non ionizing radiation on cultivated plants of Arabidopsis thaliana (Col.). Flora;223:114–20.

4.         Halgamuge MN. Review: Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 2017 Apr 3;36(2):213–35.

5.         Haggerty K. Adverse Influence of Radio Frequency Background on Trembling Aspen Seedlings: Preliminary Observations. International Journal of Forestry Research. 2010:1–7.

6.         Waldmann-Selsam C, Balmori-de la Puente A, Breunig H, Balmori A. Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. Science of The Total Environment. 2016 Dec 1;572:554–69.

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