How to Tell If a Tree is Dead and Needs to be Removed
It can be challenging for a property owner to tell whether a tree is dead or alive. The task is even more difficult in the winter season when most trees look dead. There can still be hope for diseased and damaged trees in some cases, but it is impossible to revive a fallen tree. When you have a dead tree in your yard, there is no other way around but to have it removed before it can cause trouble. We are here to tell you some of the most common signs to help you determine the situation of your tree and give you an idea of what you're supposed to do after.
Things to Check for on a Dead Tree
First off, assess the actual tree and look for some physical signs of it being dead. You can perform simple tests or inspect for apparent signs to help you tell whether the tree is dead or not.
Inspect the tree's trunk and look for signs of fungus at its base. Fungus growth is one of the most apparent signs of a dead tree. It could mean that the inside of the trunk has decayed and the tree is already dead.
Tree Trunk Damage
It doesn't end with fungus growth. Keep evaluating the tree trunk and look for vertical cracks in it. If you see any serious damage, it could be a sign that the tree is in bad shape. If the tree is healthy, its bark will grow back even if it falls off due to maturity. If it remains bald and smooth, your tree may be in danger.
Check for Bare Branches
Tree branches should be dense with leaves in spring or summer, but if they are not, it can be an indicator that it is damaged. In some cases, only one side of the tree is affected with bare branches, and the other side is fine. It can mean that the tree is only diseased on one side, but it could still be a problem because the tree will become lopsided and breakdown because of its weight.
Check for Damaged Roots
Checking for damaged roots is not as easy as it seems. The good thing is, some signs can help you tell if the roots are damaged. If the tree is leaning towards one side, it can signal that the tree's root is not as stable compromising the structure of the tree. Also, epicormic shoots can be found at the base of the trunk of a tree with weak roots. Some activities by humans can contribute to the root's damage such as excavation and construction projects as they can loosen the soil that could lead to shallow root systems.
Perform Scratch or Break Test
One of the easiest ways to determine the health of a tree is by performing a scratch test. With a small knife, scratch one of the tree's branches, and if it shows green and moist flesh, then your tree is in good shape. Do this to some more branches in different parts of the tree, and if they all show the same result, you've got a healthy tree.
How to Tell if a Tree is Dead in the Winter
It can be extra challenging to tell if a tree is dead or not in their dormant stage because most trees could appear dead in winter. It would help to look for signs of buds on the branches because healthy trees have buds even in winter. You can also use the scratch test to identify a dead tree in your yard.
Why are Dead Trees an Issue?
The issue of dead trees go beyond aesthetic reasons but more importantly, on the risk, they pose not just to your property, but human lives. There are plenty of reasons why you should not think twice in having your dead tree removed, and we had them compiled for you.
Disease/ insects can spread to other trees
One of the major culprits for a dead tree is a disease. If your tree is diseased, the other trees surrounding it are also in danger of getting infected. Diseases can quickly spread among trees, which can result in more dead trees in your yard.
Dead trees don't only infect healthy trees with diseases, but they can also draw a swarm of dangerous insects and pests. Rats and termites often make dead trees their refuge, and soon enough, they will be invading your home, too.
Dead branches falling
If your tree is dead, it would have dead branches. A dead branch can fall anytime and cause injury to pedestrians or damage to your property.
Dead Trees can be A Hazardous
Aside from dead branches falling, you should also be concerned with the entire tree ultimately toppling over. Dead trees have compromised the structure and can fall entirely to the ground or anything close to it. If a dead tree is near power lines, buildings, or roads, it can mean a disaster when it finally falls. It is best to have a dead tree removed before the worst scenario happens.
How to Determine if a Dead Tree Should be Removed
In most cases, a dead tree should be removed, but there are instances when it is okay to leave it be.
If it is in a remote place, you can leave it alone: Dead trees in these areas can be home to different wildlife.
If 50% of the tree is damaged, it should be eliminated: Trees in this situation may be beyond recovery, so it is best to have them removed.
Near hazardous situations: For safety reasons, a dead tree near power lines or other fixed structure should be removed immediately.
If it could be advantageous to other trees near it: Will removing the tree benefit trees surrounding it? If the answer is yes, then remove it by all means.
What to Do If You Have a Dead Tree
If you are certain your tree needs to be removed (or even if you are not), it is best to contact your local tree removal company to get the job done. Professional tree removal companies have certified arborists who can tell you whether your tree can still be salvaged or if it needs to be removed. They can provide you with the estimate for the service to be performed so you can decide what options you have with the tree.