How Can You Tell If A Tree Is Dying (And Why Should You Care)?

Trees on your property represent a significant investment in time, effort, and care. Even the fastest-growing trees can take years to reach a suitable height and become a true centerpiece of your home's landscaping. Unfortunately, trees are living beings that can succumb to disease, pests, and old age. Although this process is heartbreaking, it's something many homeowners inevitably experience.

While you probably want to do everything to keep your trees alive and thriving, leaving a dead, dying, or decaying tree on your property can be an invitation to problems. Maintaining a beautiful and safe landscape around your home means learning to recognize the early warning signs of tree trouble before disaster strikes.

How Do You Know If Your Tree is Dying?

Trees can suffer from numerous problems over their long lives, and they'll often recover and go on to continue producing leaves and flowers. However, some issues can become too severe, or some diseases go on for too long, and the tree ultimately fails to return to health. With a bit of attention, you can usually spot the early warning signs that a tree is passing the point of no return.

The leaves and branches will usually provide you with your first indications of a problem. Unless you've had an unusually cold summer or spring, most trees should bounce back each year with a full canopy of bright leaves. Brown and dry leaves that last well into the summer are typically a sign that a tree is stressed and may be a sign of imminent death if there's little or no green growth remaining.

The bark and trunk can provide you with additional clues. Although tree bark may look hard and brown, it's covering up a vibrant, growing layer called the cambium. You can check the condition of the cambium by removing a small amount of bark. You may also notice the outer bark breaking, cracking, and peeling away if the cambium underneath is dead or dying.

Why Are Dead Trees Problematic?

Dead and dying trees can be unsightly, but what if you don't care about appearances? Even if you ignore cosmetic issues, you will still want to remove dead trees from your yard. Once dead, the wood in your tree will quickly dry out and lose strength. Heavy winds or impacts can cause branches to fall, potentially damaging property or causing injuries.

If you ignore the problem for long enough, the roots belowground will also decay. Since the tree relies on its roots for support, this will weaken the heavier upper portion, eventually causing it to loosen and fall over. A falling tree can cause severe damage, injury, or even death, so the best approach is to hire a professional arborist to remove dead and dying trees as soon as you can.

For more information on when to seek tree removal services, contact a professional near you.