Signs that Your Tree is Dead

Trees are valuable assets to every environment. They provide aesthetics for the landscape of your home, provide shelter for animals, and serve as a cooling shade to both humans and animals. Although they serve lots of biological advantages to the environment, a dying species of this plant can prove to be dangerous on different occasions. Often accompanied by signs of leaves turning brown or holes from boring pests, these trees are prominent within society. 

Although it may be a bit difficult to identify trees in poor health, it is important to note some signs and symptoms given by these trees before they cause severe damage to you and your property. Whether it’s causing injuries to people having fallen off from its branch or leading to costly repair if it falls on your roof or your car, knowing the signs and symptoms could enable you to avert any ugly incidents that may happen in the future. So, how do you know the signs of a dead tree? Let’s find out in this article. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Dead Tree

A dead tree is nothing to play with. To be candid, it is pretty easy to figure out when there is something off with your tree. Although a few signs such as brown leaves or moldy growth sticks may become visible to you, there is much more to that. Here are seven signs or symptoms that may tell you that your tree is dead. 

  1. A Few or No Leaves Left

Every tree ought to have green leaves growing on it. That is a credible sign of life for any healthy tree. For a deciduous or coniferous evergreen tree, you will notice that the branches are full of lush green leaves. However, that is not the same with a dead tree. In most cases, you will find brown or brittle leaves on the deciduous trees during growing seasons. Meanwhile, the coniferous evergreen will have red, brown, or yellow needles or leaves to indicate its unhealthy state. Aside from this, you may also find a tree with no leaves at all. Lack of foliage, root damage, or pests are contributing factors to any dead trees.

  1. Peeling Barks or Cracked Trunks

When a tree becomes dead, the bark becomes loose and starts to peel off with ease. Besides, you could also notice the bark is dead when you discover that there are no green layers underneath the bark after scratching the tree. Thanks to various reasons such as infectious diseases or not enough nutrients, a tree could suffer from brown and brittle barks or cracks that extend into the internal or external cavities of wood. Cracks often create weaknesses in wood. As a result, the service of an arborist is often required to check it up and offer a solution as soon as possible. In the case of infectious disease, the arborist can advise the tree owners to cut off the infected part if it hasn’t spread to other parts or take care of it through some wood treatments. In the case of cracks, an arborist may need to inspect the extent of the damage before implementing any viable solution.

  1. Presence of Pests or Microorganisms

The moment you discover lots of pests or microorganisms in a tree, it indicates that it is dead or dying. Why? Pests prefer to live in a dead host. That host also includes trees. Besides, microorganisms such as bacterial or fungal infections surrounding a tree can indicate that it is dead. For instance, when you notice a discoloration in the bark or discover mushrooms growing on the ground and surrounding tree, it signifies that there is structural damage within the tree. This structural damage could lead to further decay that eventually becomes a breeding ground for various pests (ants, beetles, termites, and more) or other microorganisms.

  1. The Tree Leans

Unless a tree grows at a specific angle, then it shouldn’t lean at all. A tree that leans shows an odd growth pattern. In such cases, it is a sign of weakness or structural imbalance in the tree. Research shows that a tree that leans at more than 15 degrees of its vertical angle could be as a result of root or wind damage. Although you may try to brace the tree from toppling with ease, such efforts may not yield positive results as it has become too weak to erect properly.

  1. Root Damage

When a tree experiences root damage, it can die. Since the construction of buildings, sideways, driveways, or other landscaping projects often occur, they can hasten the removal of any root that can inhibit the development of the project. This removal process is what damages the root of any tree as the tree won’t be able to feed itself. Also, root damages do occur as a result of foreign elements present in the soil or the poor compaction of soil components. This could affect the health status of the tree and enable it to exhibit symptoms such as yellow undersized leaves, wilted brown leaves, thinning foliage, stunted growth, and more.

  1. Open Wounds

Just as open wounds affect humans, it also affects trees and could even cause death in some cases. Aside from the careful cuts that occur during tree trimming and other research processes, large cuts or torn branches can pose a threat to a tree’s health, thereby making it difficult for the tree to recover. Besides, the situation could get worse if a lightning strike or wind could further split the tree devastatingly and tear off its branches. When a large branch falls off, it is nearly impossible for a tree to recover quickly, hence prompting its death.

  1. Brittle Branches

If a tree’s branch breaks off easily, then it implies that a significant portion of the tree is dead. As a result, don’t wait until the tree falls off completely and causes great damage to your property. Instead, you should request the service of an arborist to assess the situation and recommend an effective solution.


Dead trees give various signs before it completely falls and creates havoc. However, you can prevent such incidence by taking note of the aforementioned signs and executing the right solutions. After thorough examinations and you discover that your tree is dead, it is essential to take the right step by hiring a tree removal company to help you remove the dead tree. But before you do that, here are 10 questions to ask before hiring a tree removal company.

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