Are the trees on your property not as green and healthy as they used to be? Trees are living organisms and unfortunately, like other living things, sometimes they get sick and sometimes they die. It’s important to identify if you have a dead tree or a sick tree.
If your tree is just sick, you may be able to nurse it back to health, but if your tree is dead, it’s more than an unpleasant sight, it’s also a safety hazard and needs to be dealt with. Here’s how to know the difference, steps to take to save a dying tree.
Dead or Dying?
Mature trees are sturdy and typically require very little maintenance throughout the year. Their low-maintenance behavior unfortunately causes homeowners to often overlook some of the early signs of disease and deadly issues. Many of the tell tale signs listed below manifest themselves fully after the tree is already dead, so take note to some of the more subtle signs as well.
Even healthy trees deserve a quick look over. Here’s what to look for:
If the leaves have changed color out of season or developed weird spots, this may be a sign of a disease. If just one portion of the tree or only a few branches have discolored leaves, trim those branches. If the majority of the leaves are affected or a large portion of the tree, do tree service with a fungicide and monitor the new growth.
If the tree did not come out of dormancy after the spring or lost it’s leaves prematurely, then it is likely the tree has died. There are a few more signs that will confirm it’s status which brings us to the next point.
Can you “snap” the branch right off? If so, test multiple branches. A live branch will bend and be difficult to break. Under the bark, the tree should be green. If you can snap the branches off and the larger trunk is dry below the bark, the tree in whole (or at least that part) has died.
Fungus that forms on the branches or trunk of a tree is a sign of internal rot. Depending on the extent of time the fungus has been present, then a tree service with a fungicide is required. Have a professional landscape treatment company help you determine if a fungicide would be helpful or if your tree is beyond help and needs to be removed.
Trunk damage, such as vertical cracks appearing on the tree or large cracks or gouges in the trunk are severe threats to the tree’s health and often will ultimately kill the tree. A tree service specialist can help determine if the tree has a chance of surviving the damage, but the homeowner can also monitor the tree for any of the signs listed above that may follow after the trunk damage. If a tree with trunk damage does not come out of dormancy in the Spring season, the tree is dead.
This is a tough one as it’s not really possible to notice if the roots are damaged because they are not visible. But few factors that could cause serious threat to the roots are new construction, a shallow unmonitored root system, poor compaction of soil, and any new excavation activity.
A tree that’s leaning down all of a sudden is one sign of a serious root damage. Also, have you noticed lately some small branches that are sprouting at the base of the tree trunk? They are called epicormic shoots which gives you an indication that the tree is under high level of stress.
Is tree service needed for a dead tree?
If you have determined your tree is dead – you need to remove it from your yard. Here’s why:
- Dead tree branches can fall off causing serious damage to people, cars and your home and other property.
- Damaged trees that are leaning can fall or break in wind gusts, damaging property, power lines and can even cause death to humans and livestock.
- Dead trees are a breeding ground for insects and other deadly pests like rats and termites.
- Diseased trees infested with insects will eventually spread to the nearby vulnerable plants and trees.
If the dead tree is taller than you, call a professional tree service company. The dead tree can be cut, bundled and put out to the street for city pick up, burned in a wood pile with proper permitting or chipped by the tree company. Depending on the size, the stump should be dug out or ground with a stump grinder.
Stumps that remain in the ground and get buried by soil will eventually decay and create a low spot in your yard and even in some severe cases, a large sinkhole if the stump is large.
For more helpful landscaping tips, contact Southern Exposure Landscape Management.
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