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Is My Tree Dying or Dead?

It’s easy to make the mistake of removing a dying tree which could potentially make a full recovery after some tender loving care. Trees can appear to be dead with spindly branches or a lack of leaves when they are simply recovering from the colder winter months. So, how do you accurately determine if your tree is dead?

How to check if your tree is dead

If your tree appears to be in ill-health then it’s probably time to have a proper inspection. There are a few methods you can try to check if your tree is dead. 

The Scratch Test

The scratch test involves lightly scratching one of the tree branches (or twigs) with either your fingernail or a small knife. It’s normal to have a couple of dead branches or twigs so we’d recommend testing a few branches to accurately determine its health. 

  • If you scratch and it is green and moist underneath then your tree is alive. 
  • If it is brown and dry underneath then your tree may be dead. 

The Snap Test

To do the snap test, bend a twig at a 90 degree angle. If the branch easily breaks then your tree is likely dead. 

Inspect the trunk, base and branches

Cracks, peeling bark or splits within the trunk suggest your tree is dead. 

The growth of mushrooms or any fungi around the base or underneath the branches of your tree are symptoms that it is either decaying or dead. 

Multiple branches with no living buds is also a symptom that your tree is dead. 

If your tree has failed the scratch, snap and inspection tests, then it is unfortunately dead. For complete certainty, you can contact a local arborist to receive a professional assessment and diagnosis of your tree. 

Are dead trees dangerous?

It may be tempting to just leave your tree as is, but dead trees can create potential hazards to homeowners and the environment. 

Falling branches or tree

Dead branches or trees can fall and cause damage to your home, car, powerlines and even kill a person. Immediate removal is recommended, especially for those with children or pets. 

Fire hazard

As dead trees are incredibly dry, they are the perfect kindling for fires. Whether it be hot weather or a cigarette butt, unremoved dead trees can ignite into flames in an instance.

Spreads disease and pests

Whether it be insects, rats or other pests, expect your dead tree to attract infestations. A dead tree may have died from a disease such as Oak Wilt or Emerald Ash Borers which are infectious and spread by pests. To avoid contamination, remove any dead or infected trees. 

Removing a dead tree

When it comes to removing dead trees, it’s best to call in the experts. With Jim’s Tree and Stump Removal, you are receiving a safe, efficient and cost-effective tree removal service. Contact our friendly team to discuss the removal of your dead tree today.

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