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Signs That Your Tree Is Dying Or Dead

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Often dead trees go unnoticed, as their death is not as instant as that of humans or animals. The death of a tree is a gradual slow process. It’s always better to identify the onset of its death to avoid damage which can be possibly deterred.

In this article, you will discover the tell-tale signs of either a dead or a dying tree. This will help you protect your property from any damage or unpleasant visual appeal. Some indicators of a dead or a dying tree are rather confusing to an untrained eye. For this reason, the following signs will help you identify an ill or a dying tree.

What to Watch Out For

Whenever you suspect ill (poor) health of a tree that is within your property, go through the following inspection checks. However, it’s important to note that not all trees deaths are as a result of diseases.

Other factors like inappropriate planting of a tree and harsh weather conditions can also lead to its demise.

Now look!

tree cutting

  1. Keenly observe the tree bark for insects and fungi: The presence of insects and fungi means that the tree is dead and rotting inside. Bracket fungus is a clear indicator of an ill tree.
  2. Note the stature of the tree: If a tree was previously vertical then turns by any degree, it becomes subject to inspection.
  3. Look for the presence or absence of leaves: If a tree loses the leaves in an untimely manner, the tree should be inspected by an experienced arborist.


Tree Educated

Ignorance is bliss so as they say, however it’s not advisable to ignore the signs of a dying tree. If you ever come across a tree that has the symptoms listed below, just call certified arborists. There are always a number of arborists within your locality.

A Tree Might Be Dying If You Sight;

  • Leafless branches

Although this is not a direct give away that a tree is about to die or is dead, it is one of the surest ways to identify a dying tree. Some trees, however, shed their leaves in relation to season. They are called deciduous trees. They shed their leaves to preserve water lost through transpiration. However, the way the leaves are lost is in synchronicity to the season, therefore it’s not normal for a tree to shed leaves in a season when it should be all green.

Is the tree branches bare at a time of the year when it should be covered with leaves? This is a direct give away that the trunk is rotting from inside. Poorly attached leaves also indicate that the tree is not doing well.

Leaves make food for the rest of the plants. Absence of leaves infers that the tree is not making any food. A hungry tree is as good as a dead tree.

  • A Peeling Bark

We can all agree that a peeling tree bark is not necessarily appealing. The bark of a dying tree may start falling off as flakes. When you see this, contact an arborist who is experienced in the field.

peeling bark

The skin of the tree may appear chunky and start peeling off, if the tree is not getting enough nutrients or if the tree is dying. Trees shed their barks as an indication of death or its onset.

Whenever you observe a peeling bark, know that the tree is either dead or headed that way. The best thing to do after the discovery is to contact an experienced arborist.

  • Falling Branches

Death of a tree may result from the wrong nutrients and water mix or an insufficiency of both. When this happens, the branches extend weakly and fall off more often than those of a normal healthy tree.  The tree dries up and subsequently the joint rots leading to the branch breaking off.

Falling branches indicate the death of a tree. This is a call for alarm, for a falling tree might damage your property. Besides damaging your property, the fallen branches can injure you or anyone within the compound.

  • Ants And Other Insects

If you notice the area around the base of the tree is insect infested, there is a high chance that the tree could be dead or dying. Ants eat up the rotten tree sap leaving a void in the stem, which means that the tree has no real support.

Ants and other insects are indicators of death and decay. The ants feed on the dead and decaying tissues inside the trunk. The tree then falls due to lack of proper physical support.

  • Environmental Interference

Supposing the area near the trees is undergoing construction, the interference means that the normal growth and development of the roots and leaves are affected.  The roots destroyed results to the death of the tree.

Always get in touch with the best arborists whenever you suspect that a tree is destroyed by constructions. The constructions may have an effect on the soil, roots and the general health of any surrounding tree.

  • Bracket Fungi

These tree eating fungi colonies will always appear when the tree is doing poorly. You will see them around the base of the tree and even on branches. This fungus also known as conchs is a giveaway of a dead or a dying tree.

Such a tree will always be weak to seasonal storms and might find its way on your property. This is not to forget the risk to your life or loved ones when a dead tree gets knocked over.

  • Damaged Tree Stalk

A Damaged stem is an unhealthy stalk. Cracks on the trunk can mean that the inner tree tissues are damaged.

You need to get in touch with an arborist for the identification of a crack that may be life threatening to a tree. The government has laws on which cracks are okay for a tree near a commercial property. You may ignore a crack and later come to face unnecessary consequences.

  • Leaning Trees

A change in the architecture of the trees can only mean one thing, a diseased tree. Trees that were previously straight then lean to a certain degree are termed unsafe. A tree can lean from root damage or from strong currents. In any case, a leaning tree is more vulnerable to strong currents than a straight statured tree.

A tree that leans 15 degrees from its original straight position should be brought down as to the stipulations of the law. Bring down a leaning tree or call a certified professional to cleanly handle the task for you.

The Tree Scratch Test

The best way to determine whether a tree is dead or not is obviously first looking around and checking, however, if you cannot tell using this method you can then try the next best method is the scratch test.

Just beneath the dry bark layer lies the cambium layer of bark, in a living tree this is green. in a dead tree this will be brown.

Scratching the bark to see if a tree is still alive involves removing a small part of the outside layer to see the layer below, if you perform this scratch on a tree and see green then the tree is alive. During times of bad drought, a tree may sacrifice branches allowing them to die to keep the tree alive. If you are to do a scratch test then make sure you choose many different areas of the tree.


So What Now?

Damaged dying trees can be a threat to commercial set ups. You should take action unless you want damage and unnecessary government penalties.

Branches that fall without warning can be injurious to people or cause damage to property. Also, it’s good to note insects that a tree harbour may spread within the neighbourhood and damage other trees.

Never Ignore Dead Tree Symptoms

dead tree

Apart from the poor aesthetic value of the estate, pest and disease spread should be a major concern when examining the death or ill health of trees. Consider this: a dying tree or a dead tree is generally morphologically weak. The branches are weakly fixed at the joints and can fall off often without warning. How proximate is the tree to your house? Do family member spend time under the tree? If so never put their safety at risk.

Imagine a big branch falling and unfortunately landing on a small child or a pet. This is not what you want is it? You can avoid such accidents by always being conscious of your surroundings. Always put into considerations the symptoms of a dead or a dying tree for your safety and that of your loved ones.

In the case of tree disease, the infection can spread from one tree to another if the conditions are right and if the appropriate action is delayed. When this happens, what could have been an isolated incidence spreads to be an expansive full blown pandemic.

Aphids and rodents are attracted to your property by the presence of dead trees. If these pests multiply, they can turn out to be a menace within your property.


Be Safe!

You and your property deserves to be safe. You should not ignore signs of danger in your property. Dead or dying trees can pose a potential threat to you and your property. Instead of ignoring what you see, contact the best arborists and be safe from physical harm and from the law. They will take the necessary measures based on the situation at hand. With the information provided above, you will be sure to know when a tree needs maintenance, or when to make that important phone call.

If you need the best professional tree problem solver in your area, give Valiant Arborists a call. Your problem will be solved by a click of a finger, be it on weekends or public holidays or any time of the day!

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