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How to Know When to Remove a Tree

Do you have a tree that’s been damaged by wind or ice? Perhaps your tree looks fine except that it keeps dropping dead branches, usually in the worst possible landing places. Maybe you have one that was struck by lightning and part of it is obviously dead. Should I trim the dead parts off and hope the rest of the tree recovers or should I just have the whole tree removed? Contact MyPatriotTreeService.com today for your free quote.

man cutting tree

How to determine if a tree needs to be cut down

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a tree is dead or dying, especially in winter. If your tree is still making leaves, it’s not dead. If it only has leaves in one section or the leaves are green in one place and have turned brown elsewhere, it’s in trouble. If its leaves turn brown well before any other trees, it may be dying. Some tree species will hang onto some leaves over winter, but they shed them in early spring. A tree with most of its dead leaves remaining well into spring when other trees are sprouting new leaves is also a bad sign.

With smaller trees with thin bark, you can scratch the outer bark off. The first layer of the inner bark should be green. That will tell you that your tree is not dead yet.

Fungus tends to grow on dead wood, so if you have mushrooms and other fungus growing near the base of the tree it is a sign of rotting. If your tree is leaning over your home or leaning more than usual, it could be heading for a fall. Likewise, a tree with a double trunk that shows signs of splitting at the joint may mean that half of it is going to be lost.

The tree species also affects whether or when the tree needs to be removed. If you have a sweet gum tree that’s developed that common warning sign of a hollow spot forming in the trunk, it will eventually fall. Pine trees have a much shallower root system than hardwoods such as oaks. A dead pine is subject to being blown over by high winds. People have noticed that woodpeckers seem to avoid nesting in a dead pine as if they know it’s not a sturdy place for a nest.

An arborist can tell you whether a tree is in bad shape or dead and needs to be removed. If it can be saved, they’ll advise you on what you need to do to get it in better shape. It may just need some strategic pruning, disease or pest treatments. 

What is the best time of year to remove a tree?

Trees are best removed in the winter. A dead tree has dead branches that keep falling with the weight of snow or when the wood becomes sodden with water. Your home or car may be in a danger zone, or worse, an overhanging branch may fall on a neighbor’s property. Many people end up in court because a neighbor’s tree fell on their property, causing damage and the argument that the owner should have taken care of an obviously damaged or sick tree beforehand.

Surrounding plants are damaged less when the tree is removed in winter. Dormant plants are not likely to be harmed by being disturbed as much as they would if they were actively growing. It’s also easier to prepare the soil for spring where the tree was located if the tree is removed before things start sprouting.

Should I remove a tree close to the house?

Sometimes you have no other choice than to remove a tree close to the house. If you have a dying or dead tree close to the house, the branches will land on the roof eventually, causing damage to the roof. Additionally, some homeowners insurance companies specify how far away trees should be from the house. They will insist on the removal of any trees that grow closer to the house before they will write a policy.

Tree removal is something best left to the experts. A tree removal service can remove your tree, even if it is close to your house, without damaging the roof or other parts of your home. Professionals can do the job without risk to any of your other property.

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