How To Tell if a Tree Is Dying or Dead |

When trees are dormant in the winter, it can be hard to tell if they’re still healthy. Read ahead to learn how to tell if a tree is dying or dead.

Trees provide shade and add beauty to a residential landscape. Although many trees live long lives, diseases, storms, and changes in weather patterns can damage and weaken them. When trees are dormant in the winter, it can be difficult to tell if they’re still healthy. Here’s how to tell if a tree is dying or dead.

Cracked or Peeling Bark

Some tree species possess bark that naturally sheds or peels. But some trees may be in trouble if the bark is cracked or peeling. Look for these signs around the trunk of the tree. If the bark is coming off the trunk, your tree could be experiencing issues.

Mushrooms Around the Base

Check the base of the tree, close to the ground. If mushrooms are growing on or around the base, it could indicate rot or a fungal infection.

Dead Branches

All trees will have some dead branches. In fact, when a tree is stressed by drought or other severe conditions, it may sacrifice some branches to conserve nutrients and water. But a tree could be in decline if it’s losing many branches.

Sometimes, pruning can help a tree regain vitality. However, don’t attempt to prune trees yourself. A trained arborist can assess the tree’s health and determine the best course of action.

Lack of Leaves

In the spring and summer, healthy deciduous trees display lush leaves. If your tree doesn’t develop leaves, or the leaves are brown and shriveled, the tree may be dying.

In the winter when the tree is dormant, look for signs of buds. These look like dots at the ends of the branches. They demonstrate that the tree is prepared to produce leaves in the spring. If you don’t see buds, your tree is dying or dead.

Roots Pulling Out of the Ground

Soil erosion may expose roots, but if you notice roots coming away from the ground, the tree may be unstable. Contact an arborist so they can assess the tree.

Excessive Leaning

Few trees grow perfectly straight. But if a tree leans by more than 15 degrees, it is in danger of toppling.

Dead or dying trees can be dangerous. If you notice symptoms of a dying tree, consult an arborist to discuss options from pruning to removal.

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