Are you wondering if the large tree in your front yard is dead? When you notice that a tree is not looking its best, it’s important to take action because you may be able to save the tree — and you can prevent a dangerous situation from happening if the tree is not salvageable.
You’ll want to train your eyes to look for signs of poor health. Keep reading to learn how to tell if a tree is dead!
1. How To Tell If a Tree Is Dead? Look For Leaning
Understanding what to look for regarding tree health is an important step toward taking the right action. And one of the most obvious clues that something is wrong is if your tree is leaning. Trees that lean more than 15% beyond a vertical position could be dying.
There are other factors to consider, though, before you come to that conclusion. Know what kind of tree you’re dealing with, as some naturally have a more organic or unpredictable shape. Live oak trees, which have winding trunks and branches, are a good example of trees that don’t always grow in a straight, vertical direction.
Sometimes trees located in windy places can start to lean, too. If your tree is in a vulnerable location or has endured its fair share of straight-line winds, it might lean but still be healthy. When in doubt, consult with an expert to be sure — and look for these other signs of poor health.
2. The Leaves Are Falling
We expect leaves to fall in the autumn months, but if your tree’s leaves are falling in the summer — or they don’t come back in the spring — you could have a problem. Trees that look pretty bare at the height of summer could be dying.
During the winter, look for the presence of dead leaves on the branches. This will be pretty obvious since deciduous trees should drop their leaves in the previous season.
And unusual changes to the leaves don’t just apply to deciduous trees. If the needles of your pine tree look brown or yellow on the outside edges, that’s an indication that your pine tree is unhealthy. Pine trees should be a vibrant green year-round, so any signs of yellowing during the summer mean that something is wrong.
3. The Roots Look Unhealthy
It can be more challenging to assess the health of your tree’s roots if you’re not a tree expert, but it is possible (unless you can’t see the roots very well, of course). Take a look at the roots and look for unexpected things like fungus. The presence of fungus is a sign that a tree could be rotting, even if it looks strong on the outside.
Mushrooms growing around the roots are another indicator of poor tree health. And if you notice that the roots of your tree are starting to separate from the ground, it’s time to contact an arborist.
4. Cracks In the Bark Are Growing
The trunk of your tree can provide clues about tree health, too. If you notice that the tree’s bark has intense, deep cracks, that is another sign that your tree is not in good health. Look for long striations that you don’t recall having seen before.
Another sign of tree issues? Bark that is peeling away from the trunk (or completely) gone is not a good sign. Similarly, watch for the emergence of large concave marks in the trunk or mushrooms spiraling up from the roots.
Bark-related issues point to structural damage within the tree, and that can mean that the tree is more vulnerable to falling. Keep an eye on your tree’s bark and even document it with a camera so you can track changes over time.
Not addressing tree health issues means that the problems in one tree can spread to another. You’ll also run the risk of creating a magnet for termites and other animals and rats that you probably don’t want on your property!
5. Watch For Brittle Branches
Seeing lots of dead branches on your tree signals an unhealthy tree, as well. If you notice only a few, that’s not always a problem — but an abundance of dead branches tells you that these branches (or the entire tree) could fall and cause real damage.
Brittle branches can be knocked down by the wind in an instant, and you don’t want them to hurt anyone who happens to be walking by, or hit a powerline.
If your tree is showing any of these symptoms and you think it may need to be removed, always hire a professional. The Alberta Arborists offer fully-certified and safe tree removal to ensure that your dead tree does not damage its surroundings. They can also look at your tree and determine if removal is necessary.
Don’t try to remove a tree yourself. You may cause more damage and injury, particularly if the tree is large.
If the tree doesn’t pose a threat to any property or other trees, maintaining a dead tree is okay. Remember that trees serve as home base for lots of animals — even if the tree is dead — so keeping a tree in place means that the birds and squirrels in your neighborhood will have shelter.
Get Your Tree Some Help
It’s a sad day when you notice a dying tree on your property, but it’s important not to ignore the problem. Knowing how to tell if a tree is dead is possible by assessing some physical characteristics.
With the help of an arborist, you may be able to save the tree. But if not, you want your tree removed in the safest way possible. When you’re ready to learn more ways to build your best lifestyle, check back with us for more great articles!