The unfortunate truth regarding the circle of life is all living things die. Trees are certainly no exception. What makes the concept of dead trees so confusing is they can continue to stand even though they are dead. The question is – how can you tell that a tree is dead or dying?
The Trunk is Damaged
As tree ages, the trunk fills with vertical cracks and the bark begins to fall off. If the tree is young and healthy, a new layer of bark will regrow. If the tree is old, diseased, and/or dying, the bark will not grow back. A significantly damaged trunk or a bare trunk with little to no bark, are two signs the tree on your property is reaching the end of its lifeline.
The Empty Branches
Unless it is a time of the year when the leaves are falling off the branches, the branches of a tree should not be barren. Another red flag is a tree with leaves during the winter months. During winter, it is part of the circle of life for the leaves on a tree fall off. Dead branches, however, will cling to the leaves and prevent them from falling off.
The fact that a tree’s roots run deep into the ground make determining whether a tree suffers from damaged roots a challenge. If the tree has begun to lean, however, this is a major warning sign the tree suffers from root damage. Another big red flag is branches sprouting from near the base of the tree. Referred to as epicormics shoots, this only happens when a tree is under a great deal of stress.
Weak joints (the point where the branches are attached to the tree trunk) are another red flag something is wrong with the tree. It is possible the branches are just growing too close together, but it is also possible the tree is sick. Either way, weak joints mean weak branches which can fall off the tree at any time.
Why is a Dying Tree a Problem?
The biggest question you might have is simple – why is a dying tree such a big deal? After all, it is continuing to stand. Is it really something to be concerned about? There are actually a number of different reasons you should remove a dying or dead tree from your property.
Did you know a dead tree doubles as a pest magnet? Sure, everyone loves the idea of a family of blue birds calling the tree in their yard home. The real question is, do you feel the same way about termites or rats? The problem with a dead tree attracting pests is it will not be long before the pests migrate from the tree to your home or place of business. Then, you have a real problem.
Another big issue with dead or dying trees is they are visually unappealing. If you happen to be a business owner, for example, the last thing you want on your property is ugly trees. After all ugly trees do not exactly make your business appealing to potential customers
If your trees are dead or dying because of disease, the disease is contagious. This means it is only a matter of time before the other trees and plants on your property become diseased and start to die as well.
Protecting Your Trees
Fortunately, there are ways for you to protect your tree’s health. For starters, you should avoid doing yard work too close to your tree. Open wounds on a tree are not that different from open wounds on you, it makes your tree more susceptible to disease. Keep the area around your trees clean and clear, this gives your tree the room it needs to breathe and take in fresh water.
Watch out for exposed roots, as root rot is deadly to any tree. You also need to keep an eye on the weather and make sure your tree gets plenty of water during any droughts or dry spells. Lastly, make sure have your tree pruned from time to time. Pruning is something you should only have done by a professional.
Now that you understand how to identify a dead (or dying) tree in your yard and why this poses a problem, it is time to reach out to a tree removal professional to rid you of the problem. And don’t worry, you can always plant a new tree to replace it.