We love our trees. After all, what’s not to like? They look beautiful, provide shade in the summer, their leaves are inspirational in autumn, and they act as a windbreak and provide privacy. So, making the decision to say goodbye and remove a tree can be a difficult call. The trouble is, a tree can seem healthy to the untrained eye, but it may actually be a disaster waiting to happen. Also, as a tree owner, you are responsible for any damage that may occur because the tree should’ve been removed when it was standing. However, complete tree removal is usually the last resort. Before then, pruning or disease treatments may be sufficient.
Make no mistake, dead, dying, and diseased trees can cause a lot of damage to both property and people, with costs running into the thousands. Fortunately, there are usually tell-tale signs you can spot by studying a tree’s branches, trunk, roots and location. So, here are some key signs to look out for.
Sure signs of infection. Crown dieback, cracks or deep splits in the tree’s bark, deformed or discoloured leaves and the appearance of fungi on the trunk or branches may indicate infection.
Look out for widow-makers. These are large, dead branches in the tree’s crown. They’re dangerous and may indicate a dying tree.
Poor growth. Look at the general condition of your tree and compare it to others nearby. Discoloured leaves, thin leaf cover and stunted growth are all indicators of sickness.
The tree is hollow. Give the tree trunk a tap. If it sounds, or looks, hollow it’s definitely a candidate for tree removal.
The tree is leaning. If a tree suddenly starts to lean it may have root issues.
A tree is too close to a house or structure. A fully grown tree can become a problem when it’s too close to buildings. It may be necessary to remove it or at least heavy pruning.
Dead or dying trees don’t always need removal. If they are away from people, sometimes it’s appropriate to keep them as wildlife habitat. In any case, it’s best to be proactive and call in an arborist as soon as you suspect disease or damage, particularly after a storm.