dying tree in field

Maintaining your home and yard is second nature, but do you forget about your trees?

You may not give those old trees in your yard a second thought, but that familiar old tree may be dying.

What’s the big deal about a dead tree? More than you realize.

Dead trees are a serious safety hazard. All it takes is one storm for an old tree to come toppling down. Dead tree debris can damage your roof, power lines, car, and even your neighbor’s home.

Don’t let a dying tree become a liability. Watch for these crucial signs before it’s too late.

What Does a Dying Tree Trunk Look Like?

There are several ways to identify a dead tree. The first thing you need to do is to inspect the tree trunk.

Look for visible vertical scratches or lines on the tree trunk. Severe cracks will also appear on dead tree trunks. You’ll also find patches where there’s no bark at all.

Insects that rely on tree bark will also “take over” a dead tree trunk. Typically, a healthy tree can repair itself. However, dead trees are riddled with holes from bark beetles and other insects.

This may also trigger your Trypophobia!

Dying Bark

As you inspect the tree trunk, take a close look at the tree’s bark. Cracks, lines, and crevices on the bark are telltale signs of a dying tree, but there’s more.

For starters, dead tree bark will flake and fall off the tree. Look for chunks of loose tree bark. If the bark easily scrapes off, you have a problem.

Another tip is to take your finger and slightly scratch the surface of the bark. If it’s brown underneath, and not green, then you know your tree is dead.

Dead Tree Branches

Next, look at the tree’s branches.

Just like a tree’s trunk, dying tree branches will also have loose and flaky bark. Wood-boring insects will also take over a tree’s branches and even cause the branches to fall off.

Broken branches are another sign of a dying tree, but not for all trees. For example, some tree species, like pecan trees, will lose its branches despite being healthy. In that case, you would need to inspect the branches to make sure they’re still alive inside.

Tree fungus and disease will also cause branch breakage. You’ll also notice very few leaves on dying branches if any at all.

Dying tree branches also suffer from “weak joints.” Look closely at where the branches meet on the tree.

If you do have dead tree branches, remove them immediately. Lose branches are one of the biggest liabilities to have on your property. Worse yet, dead tree branches could break and injure pedestrians.

Dead and Diseased Tree Roots

You’ve checked your tree trunk, bark, and branches. Next, you’ll need to inspect your tree’s roots carefully. This part may require a bit of digging, so grab your shovel!

Expose just enough of the roots so that you can inspect them from the bottom. The first sign you should look for is slippery and slimy roots! This sign means your roots have been overtaken by disease.

Look for visible knots and a “fibrous” texture too. Dead tree roots can also be dry and brittle. You may also find strange small branches sticking out from the dead roots, indicating stunted growth.

If the roots are brittle, that’s a clear indication that your dead tree may topple over soon. Dead roots can’t support the weight of a dying tree.

Look Closely at the Leaves

Just like any plant cycle, leaves grow, live, and die. That’s why it’s tricky to identify a dead tree by its leaves alone. However, there are a few tricks.

Ask yourself: when was the last time your tree produced healthy, green leaves? If it’s been a while, you may have a dead tree on your hands. One of the first signs of a diseased and damaged tree is a severe lack of leaf production.

Another sign is the color and texture of the leaves. If your tree’s leaves are brown and brittle during its peak growing season, your tree has a problem. Dead tree branches will also hold onto its dead leaves.

Deciduous trees and evergreen trees will also show different signs. For deciduous species, look for an overabundance of dead leaves during its primary growing season. If the leaves are yellow and not green during the growing season, that’s also a cause for concern.

Dead evergreen trees, on the other hand, will have brown or red needles when they should be lush green. If your tree’s needles are yellow, that’s a sign of a stressed tree. Stressed trees aren’t dead, but they’re on the verge of dying.

Types of Tree Fungus and Diseases

Trees often die from fungus or disease. That’s why it’s crucial to identify tree diseases when they start. Early detection could save your tree.

These are the most common tree diseases and fungus, according to Lawn and Landscape Magazine:

  • Anthracnose
  • Diplodia tip blight
  • Cedar rusts
  • Apple Scab
  • Lethal yellow of palm
  • Oak Wilt
  • Powdery mildew
  • Dothistroma needle blight of pines

You should also research common tree diseases in your local area, as some conditions may be more prominent than others. A tree removal expert could also help you identify the specific disease that’s killing your tree.

What to do About a Dead Tree

If you have a dead tree, don’t wait to take action. You’ve already learned about the liabilities of a dying tree. Don’t pay the price of waiting too long!

Some diseased trees may be revived with the right intervention. If not, call your local tree removal service ASAP. Without hesitation, remove your dead tree before an upcoming storm.

Next Steps

You have the knowledge. Now it’s time to take action! Remember these dying tree signs as you identify and remove the dead trees from your yard.

Most importantly, stay ahead of the game. Bookmark this blog to stay updated on the latest tips and trends for savvy homeowners.