If you love your tree-filled yard, the idea of removing a sick tree may be alarming. For safety, though, it is important to know the signs of a distressed tree so you can have it either treated or removed before it falls and causes damages. The following can help you spot signs of distress.
The Big Picture View
A survey of the entire tree can help you spot possible problems. Stand where you can see the entire tree. If the entire tree is leaning to one side, for example, you may have a problem. Other signs that a tree may be dying include dead sections, lots of dead or dying large limbs, or overall sparse leaf coverage. Contact a tree service to have the tree assessed more in-depth. Sometimes these issues are a result of poor water or nutrition, and you can save the tree with some timely fertilization. In other cases, it may be best to have the tree removed.
The Root System
You can't dig into the soil to see the roots, but you can get an idea of the roots' health just by viewing the ground over the roots. If you have a lot of mushrooms or fungus growing over the top of the root system or from the base of the tree, root rot may already be killing the plant. Another sign of root issues is if the ground seems disturbed or churned up after a bout of windy weather, as this indicates that the tree was actually moving in the ground due to weak roots.
One of the first things to look for on the trunk are suckers, which are twiggy upright stems that tend to grow when the main trunk is under stress or in danger of dying. Large cracks in the bark or bark that is peeling and falling off can also be signs of distress. Further, keep an eye out for insect activity, particularly that of boring insects that have made holes in the trunk. If the trunk is distressed, then nutrients and water transport between the roots and canopy may be compromised. In this case, it may be necessary to remove the tree.
If you suspect your tree has a problem, have it assessed to see if the issue can be treated or if it is time to call in a tree cutting service to have the tree removed.