Rick's Tree Service Blog

How to Tell If a Tree Is Dead

Just like all living things, trees can die when infected with disease, or when they do not receive proper care. Internal symptoms are difficult to spot, but they are the most common indication of a tree’s death.

In fact, many trees that appear to be healthy on the outside are dying on the inside. Fortunately, there are several warning signs that homeowners can utilize to determine whether a tree has died, allowing it to be removed.

Decay and Dead Wood
When a tree dies, it begins to rot from the inside out. Initially, it can be difficult to recognize, but decay will eventually become evident on the surface of the tree.

If wood is soft and crumbles easily, the tree is likely dead. Fungus can also signal the presence of internal decay. Likewise, dead wood is a sign that there is no longer life in the tree.

This wood can be identified by branches that are extremely dry and brittle.

Lack of New Buds 
Trees change with the seasons, meaning new buds and leaves should form in the spring, along with branches. If no new buds can be identified on a particular tree when others have been sprouting, this could potentially a problem.

Fruits and flowers can also serve as a sign of life, which will not be present on a tree that has already died.

Structural Issues and Cracks
Damaged trees often begin to grow in a particular direction, which can cause the tree to begin leaning. When the tree grows lopsided, it can topple onto itself.

Storms and physical damage are often at the cause, although improper care can also cause a tree to develop structural issues.

Large cracks are another sign that the tree may no longer be living. Bark serves a vital purpose in protecting the outside of the tree. When large strips of the barks are missing, the tree is susceptible to damage.

A large crack in a tree could indicate that the tree will not stand much longer, necessitating the tree’s removal in order to ensure that the surrounding area is not in danger.

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