How to tell if you have a dying tree

How to tell if you have a dying tree

Wondering if that tree in the backyard is dying? Like people, trees have a life expectancy, need good nutrition and a healthy environment to thrive, and trees can die from old age or disease, says Phil Ping, owner of highly rated Ping’s Tree Service of Indianapolis.

“A lot of times there’s a misconception about trees, and people think, ‘Oh, that’s a big ol’ tree, and it can fend for itself,’” Ping says.

In reality, trees need just as much care as grass or flowers. Droughts and extreme weather wreak havoc on tree health, Ping adds.

“If a tree didn’t look real good last year, it probably would be a good idea to have an arborist look at it,” says Ping, who recommends hiring an arborist to perform an annual tree checkup. Ping says he charges $75 for a tree inspection.

Related: How to Plant a Tree

Besides obvious indicators, an arborist searches for signs of impending death that homeowners may miss, says George Wells, owner of highly rated Northeast Tree of Minneapolis.

“While your tree may be very green and beautiful, it can be structurally unsound,” Wells says. “You have green trees that will fall apart, and you have a dead tree [stand] for 100 years.”

While only a certified arborist can tell for sure if your tree is dying, here signs to help you determine if it’s time to call a specialist.

  • Leaves bloom late
  • Leaves fall off early
  • Odd leaf color
  • Split, cracked or peeling bark
  • Dead branches near the top of the tree

For more information, please visit the Angie’s List Guide to Tree Care and Service


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