Trees are complex organisms that can suffer from many diseases, pests, and physical injuries. Trees are also long-lived plants, which means they can often overcome these issues and recover, especially with proper support and care. Because of their complexity, it can be challenging for a homeowner to recognize the symptoms of a terminally ill tree.
However, some signs are easy to spot and indicate that a tree is hazardous to your home and property. These symptoms are usually warning signs that a tree is dying or already dead and that recovery is likely impossible. If you spot these three unambiguous warnings, it's time to hire a professional to remove the tree from your yard.
1. Severe Limb Drop
Trees drop limbs for numerous reasons, from disease to physical damage caused by high winds. Some limb drops are even fairly mysterious, such as sudden ones that occur on still days. Whatever the case, losing a few twigs or branches isn't a cause for concern. On the other hand, consistent, long-term, and severe limb drop often points to an unhealthy tree.
The two clearest warning signs are that a tree is losing many limbs or losing larger, heavier, and higher limbs. Upper limbs from tall trees can be nearly as dangerous as entire smaller trees, posing a serious health and property hazard. If you have a tree losing these limbs, it's probably time to consider removing it.
2. Visible Rot
It can be surprisingly hard to determine if a tree is on its last legs. Trees may continue to produce foliage and grow even as they enter their last seasons, which can hide severe structural issues. There's no simple solution to this problem (other than having an expert check your trees), but there are a few ways that you might get lucky and spot trouble.
Pay attention to the bark around the base of your trees. Is it covered in mold or fungus? Can you see sections of bark peeling off? If you touch the bark, does it fall away without much difficulty? These highly visible signs of rot are unambiguous indications that your tree doesn't have long to live. Once you spot these issues, it's time to contact a professional removal service.
3. No Foliage
Arguably the most obvious sign of a dead tree is a lack of foliage. Different trees show foliage at different times of the year, but any tree should have thick foliage by early summer at the latest. A tree with few or no leaves is dead or dying and likely suffering from a severe enough problem that recovery is unlikely or impossible.
Once you notice a lack of foliage, you should contact an arborist as soon as possible. Trees that stop producing leaves are well past their prime, if not gone entirely, and may already have severe internal structural damage.
Reach out to a tree removal company for more information.