Ideas & Inspiration

6 Dead Giveaways Your Tree Needs Attention

Damaged Roots
Damaged Roots

Start from the ground up and look at the trees’ roots. Inspect roots closely if you’ve done excavation or construction projects near the tree recently. Look for heaving ground, severed roots or signs of decay, such as mushrooms, around the roots.

Trunk Damage
Trunk Damage

Look at the tree’s root collar, the area of the trunk just above the soil. Look for peeling or loose bark, cracks or deep slits in the tree. Inspect the rest of the trunk for signs of decay such as swelling, cankers, cavities, soft or deteriorating wood, or small holes.

Branches
Branches

The easiest way to spot tree damage is by looking at the branches. Bare branches when they should be covered in leaves, dead branches solely on one side of a tree, or brittle branches can indicate serious trunk and root damage. Weak branch unions with the trunk are a sign of trouble that may be reversible with pruning and may help your tree recover.

Fungus
Fungus

Look for fungi on the trunk, branches or leaves. Leaves will display spots, holes or odd colors. Large fungi, such as mushrooms, may grow on the trunk or branches and can be a sign of internal rot.

Leaning
Leaning

If a tree is leaning or has been uprooted and all the roots are exposed or the roots that are exposed are damaged or showing signs of decay, the tree should be removed.You may be able to save your tree if more than one-third of the root system is still firmly in the ground and the exposed roots do not look damaged. If the tree is young and leaning, it may just need to be supported for a growing season with a tree staking kit to promote upright growth and a strong root system.

Location
Location

Look at where and how your tree is growing. Make sure it is not growing into overhead wires and its roots aren’t affecting underground pipes. If overhead wires are a problem, check to see if trimming the tree’s canopy is an option before removing the tree. Next, make sure there is enough room around the tree for future growth, including distance from walkways, driveways, wires and permanent structures.


Pruning large trees and removing trees can be dangerous and should be done only by individuals who are trained to work safely in trees. Contact Certified Arborists, the professionals known as tree doctors, before pruning or removing large trees.