How to Tell If a Tree Is Dead

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

There are always some trees that are obviously dead or dying, but when you look at others, it may be difficult to know. When a tree is dying, you need to know because it is better to remove it than to wait for it to die. Dead trees can be dangerous because they lose stability, and eventually, they will fall down. Read on to learn how to tell if a tree is dead.

Examine the Leaves

One way to tell if your tree is dead is to watch the leaves. Many trees lose their leaves in the winter, and the leaves grow back in the spring. Some trees have leaves that come in later than others, but most will have leaves by August. If your tree doesn’t have leaves in August, then there is a good chance that it is dead.

Evergreen trees have a slightly different process because they stay green all year round. The needles closer to the inside of the tree will fall out first, and then the rest. If you notice the opposite happening, then your evergreen may be dying.

If your tree has brown leaves in the summertime, you can safely assume that the tree is dying. You should check the tree for signs of illness because there is something causing this decline.

Look at the Branches

When you look at your tree, you will look for clusters of branches that are in the same location that are dying from the tips inward. If you find that a group or cluster of branches are making up a group, and they are dying, then your tree may be dying. Large trees normally have some dead branches, but when you see a group that are close together without any signs of life, they probably have a disease or are dying.

You can test a branch to see if it is alive by bending it. If it bends easily, it is probably alive. If it snaps easily, it is probably dead. You should check a few different branches, and if they snap, they are probably dead.

Check the Trunk and Roots

When you check out the trunk of the tree, you do not want to find large sections where the bark is peeling off. You might also see sections of the trunk that are covered in rot. If you find either, you may need to remove the tree so that it doesn’t spread its disease to other trees on your property.

If you notice that your tree trunk is hollow, this does not mean that it is dead. As long as your tree is thriving and sturdy, it can have a hollow center. You just need to make sure that it is strong enough to stay standing tall.

You can also look at the base of the tree. You may find mushrooms growing there in large numbers, which could mean that your tree has root rot. In addition, you might find that the roots are growing out of the ground. If these roots are separating from the ground, this could mean that your tree lacks stability. You will want to consider removing the tree.

It is important to know when your tree is dead or dying because you will want to address the problem. You will likely need to remove the tree because it can spread disease to other trees and fall on your home or another structure on your property. It is important to recognize the signs or a dying tree as soon as possible.

Start by watching the leaves, and make sure that they grow after a long winter break. If they aren’t there by August, you likely have a tree that is dying. Check the branches as well, and then the trunk and roots. If you notice that your tree is not doing well, you should meet with a tree specialist.

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