Five Signs of a Dead or Dying Tree

Five Signs of a Dead or Dying Tree

September 29, 2020

When they are alive, trees offer aesthetic and health benefits to your yard. Unfortunately, dead or dying trees are a danger to your home or property, as they are at risk of falling over and taking down everything in their path. But if you can catch the signs of a sick tree early, it is likely you can still take steps to save it. If you believe you have a diseased tree or a dying tree in Paso Robles, CA, call an arborist if you see any of these five signs:

  • Brittle bark and cracks: When a tree nears the end of its life, the bark becomes brittle and may start peeling off. You will also see vertical cracks throughout the tree, and even deep splits into internal and external cavities. If this is allowed to continue, the cracks create weakness that leave trees vulnerable to blowing over in storms.
  • Lack of leaves: If a tree stops producing leaves or needles, it is definitely at its life’s end. Deciduous trees may also show only brown or brittle leaves that cling to branches rather than falling to the ground. Evergreens show brittle needles that are red, brown or yellow. This can happen due to stress as well as if the tree is dying, so it’s a good idea to call in an arborist to assess the situation.
  • The presence of creatures and fungus: Dead trees serve a purpose in the ecosystem. As they start to deteriorate, they make an ideal habitat for insects, small animals and many fungus species, including mushrooms. If you start to see bark beetles or carpenter ants, that is often a sign of a dying tree. Fungus and bacterial infections can be treated if they are found early and without other signs of the tree’s imminent death. However, if left to linger, they affect the tree’s structural integrity.
  • Fails the scratch test: If you doubt the health of your tree, try the scratch test. Right under the dry outer layer of bark is the cambium layer. A living tree contains a green cambium layer, while dying trees in Paso Robles, CA will have a brown cambium layer. You can check out this layer by using your fingernail or pocket knife to remove a small strip of exterior bark. If you find a brown layer, check several spots to see if the whole tree is dead, or just a few branches.
  • Noticeable root damage: Most of the root system is underground, so this may not be accessible. However, if you recently evacuated your yard or completed construction, keep an eye out for any changes in your trees’ health. These activities may have damaged them. If there are exposed roots, pay attention for subtle changes. Thinning foliage, yellow undersized leaves, dead branches and wilted leaves are all signs of root system shortcomings. With quick action, your arborist may be able to save the tree.

Neumann & Sons Tree Service is your tree specialist in Paso Robles, CA. Contact us today if you believe you have a diseased or dying tree in your yard that requires treatment or removal. We offer free estimates, and we are available for emergencies.

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