Is My Tree Dead Or Dying?

Trees are one of nature’s most beautiful creations. In fact, they have inspired many a famous line in poetry. The poet Walt Whitman wrote fondly about their splendor in his famous collection Leaves of Grass. Joyce Kilmer also wrote, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” But when a tree is dying, it is not as beautiful. In fact, it can even be dangerous.

There are a few ways to tell if a tree is dying. Signs of poor health can be spotted even if you are not a tree expert, but it may be tougher to tell just how dire the situation may be.

If you’re wondering if your tree is dead, here are some things to check for.

How to tell if a tree is dying

A healthy tree is easy to spot, as is a dead tree—but a tree that is unhealthy may be close to death or may just be a little sick, and it can be difficult to tell which end of the health spectrum it’s on. Here are some signs that a tree may be dying.

One sign that a tree may be dying is if you notice that bark is peeling or it has cracks in the trunk. Healthy bark is a sign of a healthy tree. Conversely, sad-looking or distressed bark is a sign that the tree is not doing well.

Another sign is if you notice mushrooms growing near the roots of the tree. Not all fungi are bad for trees; in fact, some can be quite beneficial, but honey fungus, in particular, is not a good sign. This fungus invades the roots of a tree and eats the wood and bark at the base of the tree. You can prevent honey fungus by avoiding over-watering the tree and by removing dead or diseased branches that could lead to an infection.

If you see hanging branches or missing leaves in the canopy, that might be another sign that a tree is dying. This is true also if you notice leaves not getting as green as other trees of that species in the same area.

What to do if your tree is dying

If your tree is dying, there may still be time to save it. First, you should see if it’s totally dead or beyond saving. To do this, you can give it a scratch test. Scratch a twig or two, and look to see if there’s any fresh and moist green growth underneath that outer layer. If the branches are dry and brittle with no green underneath, your tree may be beyond saving.

If it passes the scratch test, there may still be time to save it. In either case, you should call an arborist to help plan the next steps. They may be able to diagnose the problem and come up with a treatment plan, but it may also be necessary to remove the dead tree to avoid having limbs fall or the tree fall over entirely. When you need quality, experienced tree service, contact Rocky Mountain Tree Service today.