How to Spot Dying Trees: Six Tips

Trees are some of the most resilient and long-lasting living organisms on the planet. However, like every other living thing, they eventually die. Fortunately, you can often save your dying trees from premature demise by keeping a close eye on their health.

Sometimes it’s clear when a tree is dying, but oftentimes that means you’re too late. Early detection and working with a professional team, like Bethel Park’s tree service professionals from Old Growth Tree Care, is the best way to keep your tree healthy for years or decades to come. 

Here are some of the common symptoms of a dying tree and a few ways to help.

1. A Lack of Leaves

One of the most obvious signs of a tree that may be dying is a distinct lack of leaves outside of winter or fall. If one of your trees isn’t producing leaves or is barely producing leaves, it’s not nearly as healthy as it should be. 

2. Multiple Dead Branches

Perfectly healthy trees often have dead branches. These are usually minor, and you can easily deal with them through proper pruning. However, if your tree has an abundance of dead branches, this can be a cause for concern. 

Not only can dying branches indicate an unhealthy tree, but they can also cause damage to you and your home. 

3. Bugs or Fungi on Your Tree

Pests like insects and fungi cause damage to your tree and point to an already unhealthy tree. A healthy tree can naturally deter these pests, but a weak, dying, or dead tree is a prime target for them. 

If you don’t address your tree’s health quickly, these pests will cause more damage and almost inevitably cause the tree to die.

4. An Unnatural Lean

It’s fairly common for a tree to grow at an angle. However, if an adult tree develops a lean, this can indicate larger issues.

For example, if a tree has a lean of over 15 degrees, this is a sign of damage to the root system, often a result of wind damage. If a tree is leaning in a way that could damage your home, you should have a professional team deal with it as quickly as possible. 

5. No Green Layer Beneath the Bark

For most tree species, the bark always looks relatively dry and rough, regardless of how healthy it is. An easy and nonintrusive way to check on the health of your tree is to cut into the bark to look at the underlying layer.

The layer underneath the bark is known as the cambium layer. On a healthy tree, this layer should appear green and vibrant. If your tree is dying or has already died, it will look brown with little to no moisture. 

6. Brittle, Cracked Bark

A telltale sign of dying trees is vertical cracks and barkless patches on the tree. These deep splits can extend into the core of the tree.

These splits are also directly harmful if the tree hasn’t died yet. Barkless areas and deep splits in the tree can be weak points for pests or during storms and lead to tree diseases.

The Best Way to Save a Dying Tree

The best step you can take to save dying trees is to get in touch with a professional tree service team. At Old Growth Tree Care, we have the knowledge and gear to ensure the best possible outcomes for your tree.

Even if it’s too late for your tree, we can remove that dangerous eyesore with our tree removal services. Call us today at (412) 213-8303 to schedule service.

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