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How to Know When It's Time to Take a Tree Down

Himni Palacios
Content Contributor
Why Learning the Names of Trees Is Good for You | JSTOR Daily

If you own a tree or happen to have one on your property it's your responsibility to take necessary action on that tree if it becomes sick or causes any harm or damage. you are responsible for damage or injury that occurs.

Luckily there are telltale signs for trees when they are sick, or even if they are struggling. Some ways to tell is through their branches, trunk, roots and their initial location.

Here are some red flags to look for which tell you your tree should be looked at by a professional and possibly be removed.

Signs of Infection

Crown dieback, cracks within the bark, misshapen or discolored leaves, soft crumbly wood, and the appearance of fungi may be signs your tree is infected.

Some other signs that may show the tree has unwanted pests are emergence holes, feeding galleries and even woodpeckers feeding on the tree.

Dead Branches

Large dead branches on the trees crown are referred to as widow-makers because they can fall for what seems like no reason. The fall of these branches can seriously hurt those that happen to be below them. If 50 percent or more of the tree is dead or damaged, it should probably be removed for the safety of yourself and others.

Stunted Growth

Take a look at the health and vigor of your tree compared to the trees growing near it. Thin leaf cover, discolored foliage and stunted growth are all signs your tree is having trouble. The reason may need to be diagnosed by a professional.

Root Defects

Root defects often are not easily noticeable, but heaving soil and fungi growing near the tree’s base are both signs of root issues.

Compromised Trunk

Cracks or splits, large wounds and dead branch stubs on the tree’s trunk all indicate internal decay. Many people don’t realize trees can actually live for years with internal decay. Some trees can handle internal decay and remain standing for a while, but it’s just a matter of time before they eventually do fall. Trees with multiple trunks (also called “leaders”) can also end up with structural issues later on down the road.

Hollow Tree

A tree with a hollow trunk has been seriously compromised and is a hazard. If a third of the tree is rotted or hollow inside, it needs to be removed.

Leaning

All leaning trees aren’t necessarily dangerous, but a tree that suddenly leans to one side may have structural problems.

Sprouts at Base of Tree

These are known as epicormic shoots and they are a sign that the tree is severely stressed and should be evaluated by a professional if you wish to keep it and not have it removed.

Tree Under Power Lines

A tree that is growing into power lines can be a great hazard and will need to be removed by a certified arborist or tree service.

Too Close to a Home

Trees hanging over the roof or too close to a structure might need to be removed – or at least regularly pruned. In general, large trees should be at least 20 feet away from a house or building.

If your tree shows signs of it needing to be removed make sure to contact a professional arborist to help with the task. If you're interested in removing a tree contact us.