You can usually tell when something is off about your tree. After spending so much time admiring it, things like brown leaves or moldy growth stick out like a sore thumb.
It’s a little harder to tell just how much trouble your tree could be in, though. That’s why Bryan, a Davey blog reader from British Columbia reached out. He was “concerned that some of our trees might be dying or in danger of falling on our house or other buildings,” and wanted to know some dying tree symptoms.
A dead or dying tree is nothing to play guessing games with. Take these simple steps to check on your tree and find out just what it needs.
Symptoms of a Dying Tree
Is my tree dead or alive?
It’s important to know the difference between a dead and declining tree. Usually, sick trees can be saved, but a dead tree is a huge risk to you and your home.
The good news is you can help reduce that risk in just under a minute!
Try this quick test: Using your fingertip or a pocket knife, scratch one of the tree’s twigs. If it’s moist and green underneath, your tree’s alive.
If it’s brown and brittle, take a few more steps to inspect the tree:
- Scratch a couple more twigs to see if any are fresh green underneath.
- See if there are mushrooms or other fungi growing at the tree’s base.
- Check the trunk for peeling bark, cracks or splits.
- Look up into the canopy for hanging branches, deformed leaves or missing leaves.
- Taken together, these signs point to a dead tree. If your tree failed the scratch test and you see one or more of these signs, call your arborist as soon as possible look and remove it if necessary.
How to Save a Dying Tree
If your tree passed the scratch test, that’s great! Now the next step is to find out if and how you can save your sick tree. The most reliable way to do this is to have a certified arborist inspect the tree in person and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
If you want to learn a bit more about what’s going on before calling, look for these symptoms of tree stress and see what the most common solution is.