How to Know If a Tree Is Dead: Three Telltale Signs

If you notice dead branches or discoloured leaves, you might worry that your tree is dead. But how can you tell whether your tree is diseased, dead, or simply experiencing delayed growth?

In this guide, our experienced tree removal experts in Winnipeg, MB, at Mitchel’s All Season Tree Experts explain how to know if a tree is dead by looking at dead branches, spotting signs of rotting roots, and identifying pests that can kill trees. 

You See Broken Sticks and Exposed Roots Around Your Trees

When the root system of your trees does not receive enough oxygen from the subsoil, the roots break the surface to breathe. One common mistake that deprives roots of oxygen is forming mulch mountains at the roots of their trees. These mulch piles deprive your tree’s roots of oxygen, moisture, and nutrients. 

Mulch mountains cause branches to fall around your tree as they grow stiff from the lack of water and nutrition. Stiff branches have lower resistance against high winds, heavy snowfall, and torrential rains, which cause them to snap and fall. 

If you see broken sticks at the foot of your tree but no traces of nearby activity from wildlife, contact a licenced arborist for an inspection. In some cases, you can improve the tree’s health by removing mulch mountains, but trees with fallen branches, covered roots, and no remaining leaves are likely dead.

You Notice Peeling or Flaking Bark

A tree’s bark may look like dead wood, but it’s actually alive. Tree bark acts like skin, protecting the trunk from invasive bugs and fungi. Falling leaves and peeling barks are telltale signs of poor tree health, and you can learn how to know if a tree is dead by examining your tree’s bark.

Bark delamination is a phenomenon where the bark falls off your tree, exposing the inner layer of its trunk. Redbud, silver maple, sycamore, hickory, and birch trees are prone to bark shedding, especially during late winter and early spring. If it happens in the fall routinely every year as part of the tree’s natural life cycle, it is usually not a problem.

However, if you spot sawdust, cankers, dying twigs, and oozing sap from the trunk, you might be looking at a diseased tree. Fungal infections like cankers are the most prevalent causes of trunk infections. Call an expert if you notice bark shrivelling until it falls off the trunk.

Your Tree Is Leaning

Young, healthy trees will develop the healthy instinct to grow straight up, but they could lean at an angle from improper planting, windstorms, hurricanes, or lightning strikes. Mature trees could also develop a lean to find sources of sunlight from an understory. In these cases, a leaning trunk is not too much of a concern.

However, if you have an old tree on your property exhibiting cracked bark, falling branches, and an unnatural angle, you might have a dying tree.

Old trees may fall over from root damage and severely cracked bark. Licenced arborists can examine the root systems of leaning mature trees to see if they have trunk cracks. If your tree service professional cannot stabilize the tree through cabling or replanting, they might recommend tree removal for safety reasons.

Call the Tree Care Experts Today

At Mitchel’s All Season Tree Experts, our landscaping and tree removal professionals can safely remove a dead tree from your yard, parking lot, or pool area without affecting neighbouring plant life.

If you’re not sure how to know if a tree is dead or you want to know more signs a tree needs to be removed” call us at 204-990-8070 for a free estimate. 

We offer outstanding tree service with a professional touch.

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