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How Can I Tell if My Tree is Dying or Dead?

There are signs when anything is in disrepair. A car, a house, and even a tree, show signs that its best days are behind them. A car may have worn paint patches, rust, and missing parts. A house has peeling paint, cracking foundation, leaky roof. A tree might be a little more complicated to determine if it is meant to meet with a chainsaw. Trees can be deceiving unless you know what to look for, you would rather err on caution than wait too long and have it sitting on your roof or your car. Your tree will definitely provide clues as to its life expectancy. It is up to you to pay attention and look for the symptoms. If you are still unsure, you can call your trusted tree expert to give you their opinion.

Give Your Tree a Check-up!

Pittsburgh Tree ServiceIs your tree dead or declining? If your tree is in sick, it can be saved. If your tree is in denial, the prudent approach is to remove it. There is a way you can put your tree to the test.  This “if-then” test will help you make a decision about your tree.

  • Using a finger nail or a small knife, scratch a twig. If it is green then you can leave the scene. Your tree is alive.

If it is brown and dry, then:

1.       Explore further, search for signs of life by scratching other twigs. If you find other twigs that show green, this is good and may just mean the tree needs some TLC.

2.       Inspect for fungi near the base of the tree trunk. Additionally, large fungus on the trunk can indicate internal rot and should be further investigated.

3.       Inspect the trunk for peeling bark, cracks, or other splits on the surface. A healthy tree will replace old bark with healthy bark. If this replenishment is not occurring, then there is a problem.

4.       Visually inspect the canopy. Try to identify bare patches or barren branches. You may also notice dead leaves hanging on to a branch in the dead of winter. On a healthy tree, those leaves should have dropped.

After you have gathered your intel, subsequent to scratches revealing brown, and you notice one or more of the aforementioned symptoms it may be time to make the phone call to have the tree removed.

Sick trees can be healed

You likely won’t be able to cure your sick tree without additional assistance, unless you are educated in this area. But be happy, you scratched green and your tree still has life. Call a local arborist and they will provide you with the advice you need to move forward.