Easy Ways to Tell If Your Tree is Alive or Dead

A few years ago, one of our customers came to us in a panic after one of their large Cottonwood trees fell on their garage only a week before new buyers were about to close on their home. They were justifiably upset that this could potentially prevent the buyers from purchasing their home. In addition, they only had a week to repair the damage that the fallen tree did to their garage.

When these customers had purchased their home ten years prior, they noticed that the tree looked sickly, but thought nothing of it. The tree (no longer budding leaves) showed signs of being sick, but it seemed to withstand all the summer storms that came with strong Colorado winds. Although advised by several people, they didn’t understand the safety issues that come with sick or dead trees until it was too late.

It’s important to take the time to examine your trees to determine their health. You can also ask one of our professional tree care specialists or arborists to provide you with a free diagnostic assessment of your trees. There are several ways you can also examine trees on your own, but as always it’s important to get expert advice from a reliable tree service company.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Signs of Your Tree’s Health

Often there are straightforward signs that your tree is alive or dead. You might see rotting branches falling off or you could also see year around dead leaves covering your tree, but there is a much easier way to determine if your tree is still alive and maybe feeling a little under-the-weather.

Remember, sick trees can always be saved through a little care, but a dead tree is beyond repair and will need to be removed. That way it doesn’t do any potential damage to either you or your property.


How to Take a Health Assessment of Your Tree

While it’s always important to call professional to make an assessment, you can always use this quick trick to determine the health of your tree. First, using either your fingernail or a sharp knife, scratch the surface of one of the tree branches or twigs. If you peel away some of the surface, you should reveal a moist green layer underneath. If it looks dry, brittle or brown that is a good indication that your tree is dead.

After you’ve finished inspecting the first branch, move on to other areas. Scratch a few other surfaces on twigs or branches to look for signs of a healthy tree (moist and green). Also, look for other signs that can indicate a tree’s health. 

  • Do you see mold and fungus growing on one side of the tree or near the base?
  • Is the trunk peeling its bark or have cracks/splits down it?
  • If you look at the canopy, are there dead leaves, missing leaves, or dead hanging branches?
Photo by Mahima on Pexels.com

If your tree fails to pass any of these tests, you should reach out to one of our tree care professionals to determine if your tree is sick (and can be saved) or if its time to remove your tree and avoid damage to your home (or the neighbor’s home!). Our certified tree service professionals can inspect your tree in person and provide a diagnosis along with a treatment plan. 

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