How to Tell If a Tree Is Dead: Signs to Look Out For

how to tell if a tree is dead

Although we’d like for our trees to live forever, several things could cause a tree to die. While it can be challenging to tell when a tree is dying or dead, there are certain signs you can look to for help.

In this post, we will show you how to tell if a tree is dead, why dead trees are an issue, and when to turn to Woods Tree and Landscaping, our professional Purcellville, VA, tree removal services.

How to Tell If a Tree Is Dead

It might not always be obvious, but a tree will always show signs when dying. Though the presence of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean the tree is dead, they do point to an issue that will need resolving.

The following are some of the signs to look for or tests to perform to tell if a tree is dead.

Look for Tree Trunk Damage

Visually inspect the tree’s trunk for any damage, such as vertical cracks running along it. The more severe the trunk damage, the worse the tree’s condition will be. If it is unhealthy, you should see certain areas of the tree trunk with no bark.

Perform a Break or Scratch Test

This method is one of the easiest ways to tell if a tree is dead. Using a small knife, scratch the outside of your tree’s branches. You can also break the branches to inspect the inside. A healthy tree’s branches will have moist and green insides and be hard to snap.

Repeat this on several branches in different areas of your tree. If they are all moist and green, with none brown and brittle, your tree is in perfect health.

Look for Damaged Roots

Though this isn’t easy, certain factors could help determine whether your tree’s roots are damaged.

For starters, if the tree is leaning to one side, that could mean its roots aren’t strong enough to keep it straight and upright. Additionally, you could look for the presence of epicormic shoots at the trunk’s base. These are sprouts that pop up and are often a sign that the tree is under extreme pressure.

Look for Bare Branches

Are your tree’s branches unusually bare at a time when they shouldn’t be? If only the branches on one side of the tree are bare, that means your tree is diseased on one side. If all the branches are bare, your tree may be too far gone for you to save.

What to Do If Your Tree Is Dead in Northern Virginia

When you determine that your tree is dead, the next step is to remove it from your property. The sooner you do this, the better.

Why Dead Trees Are an Issue

While some homeowners tend to ignore dead trees, there are many reasons why a dead tree needs removal:

  • It poses an increased risk of falling branches: A dead tree has weak branches that randomly fall, potentially harming people or damaging your property.
  • It can attract pests: Pests and insects like rats and termites find homes in dead trees.
  • It can spread disease to other trees: If the tree died because of a disease, it could infect nearby trees if you leave it on your property.

Reliable Tree Removal Services in Purcellville, VA

At Woods Tree and Landscaping, we have a team of certified arborists ready to inspect your tree before providing you with suitable recommendations. Although we do believe in trying to save a tree whenever possible, we know there are times when tree removal is the only solution.

Should this be the case, you can rely on our experience and expertise to carry out the job safely and efficiently. Reach out to us at Woods Tree and Landscaping today in Fairfax, VA, at (703) 478-4704 to find out how to tell if a tree is dead and also to learn more about our tree trimming and pruning services.

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