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How to Know When it’s Time to Take Down a Tree

How do you know when it's time to take down a tree? We go over the signs you should look out for when deciding.

How to Know When it’s Time to Take Down a Tree

When is it time to take down a tree? When we’re asked this question, the first thing that comes to mind are the signs of decay. If you’re noticing negative changes in your tree’s appearance that are not caused by seasonal changes, it may be time for removal. These changes include dead branches and vertical cracks in the trunk. What else indicates your tree needs attention? Below are some common symptoms for diseased, dangerous and dying trees. By knowing these signs you can decide whether or not it’s time for tree removal before any real damage occurs.

Vertical cracks

Vertical cracks are a sign of decay or structural damage. They can be caused by a number of things, including a severe weather event, disease or rot, fungus, or even insects. These vertical splits can appear on the trunk and branches of your tree as well as the roots. If you see these cracks in your tree’s bark, it may be time for an expert arborist to assess its condition so they can determine whether it needs to come down before more structural damage occurs to the tree or other property around it (like your house).

Dead branches

Dead branches may be a sign that the tree is in decline. Dead branches can be dangerous, so removing them is important before they fall on their own and hit someone or something of importance. You may want to consider hiring a professional for this task to ensure the job is done correctly.

Older wounds

If you have a tree with an old wound that has not healed over time, it may be time to take it down. Wide and/or deep wounds should be looked at by an arborist.

Internal decay

Internal decay is one of the biggest reasons to take down a tree. Internal decay may occur by lightening strikes, insects, age, fungus, or old wounds that have failed to heal. It can be difficult to see, but if you notice any of the following symptoms in your trees, call an arborist:

  • Wounds that are larger than 1/4 of the trunk diameter
  • Decay that goes into the trunk of the tree
  • Fungus forming on the tree, often in the form of mushrooms

Severe damage

If the tree looks threatening, it’s time to get an arborist to assess your tree and provide professional guidance. Prior to entering into a storm season, it is a good idea to have your large trees evaluated. Often times a arborist can make recommendations on things that can be done to increase your trees chances in the event of severe inclement weather.

If you notice that one of your trees has died or is dying from disease or insect damage, this tree should be removed or treated immediately to limit the spread of disease to nearby plants in your yard (or onto other properties).

The tree is too close to your home

If your tree is too close to your home’s foundation, it may be time to take it down. Trees that are planted too close to a building or home can cause structural damage to the foundation. Tree roots will grow under your home’s foundation and may cause cracks as they expand. This can lead to water damage or even structural failure in extreme cases. If you have a tree too close to your home, it may be time to consider consulting with an arborist to see what can be done.

Stunting other plant’s growth

When a tree is too close to other plants, it can cause damage to the roots of those plants as well as prevent adequate sunlight from reaching the understory plants. This can lead to stunted growth and reduced health of the understory plants. The best way to prevent this problem is to meet with an arborist to determine the best course of action to help the plants to live in harmony.

In the end

There are many reasons why you may want to remove a tree from your yard. While it’s always better to leave nature alone as much as possible, many situations call for action. If you have any concerns about your trees and whether they need to be pruned or removed, talk with an arborist who can help make that decision with you!

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