Few things beat a great, big beautiful tree when it comes to home decor. Nature provides us with so much beauty, and trees are nothing if not the utmost of that aesthetic’s value. It goes without saying, therefore, that you’d want the trees on your property to remain healthy, hearty, and looking its best self. Even more pressing are the pressures caused by an unhealthy tree. If your tree is dying, for example, its grandeur translates instead to a great danger to you, your family, and your property. This danger is especially present in times of adverse weather conditions, such as during a storm. A particularly rough breeze, coupled with the weight of soaked branches, could send one of those branches toppling down. It could hit your house, your fence, your car, even you, yourself! That’s not the best send-off to your beloved tree, to say the least.
An unhealthy tree can be easy to spot, depending on the level of sickness. One sign of an unwell tree is the absence or discoloration of bark. Bark is sort of like the tree’s skin, keeping it warm and safe from things that might like to burrow into it. If it’s missing bark, all sorts of parasites can make your gorgeous tree its home, rotting it inside out. Yuck! A diseased tree is almost as good as a dead tree for how brittle it can make it. But knowing the difference between simply a diseased tree and a tree which no longer has any hope of being saved can be difficult. And you don’t want to just jump the gun and pay an expensive fee to have that beautiful piece of nature torn down — that would just be adding insult to injury!
So what can you do if you’re not sure? For one, take a look at it. Does it look different than it did, say, half a year ago? Specifically, the thing to look for is whether or not it’s leaning. If it’s leaning more than it usually does — no tree grows perfectly straight, after all — then it’s a pretty sure bet that the roots of the tree have rotted, resulting in one side no longer able to hold the tremendous weight of the tree as well as the other. This is a big hazard, especially if it’s leaning toward someone’s house. Even if it doesn’t hit your house, if it falls and hits a neighbor’s property, it’s going to be your responsibility to fix the damages. Talk about a lose-lose situation.
Dead branches and the absence of leaves in summer — if less than one-third of the tree is covered in leaves, that is — is another indication that something’s wrong. Another toll for your tree is if there’s a large fungal presence along its trunk. If there’s a lot of fungi there, it’s a safe bet that the inside has rot. Unfortunately, only an arborist can tell you for sure whether or not the tree is too far gone to be saved, but in such cases that no leaves grow when they should, or if the trunk is filled with fungus, it’s probably a good idea to prepare to say goodbye to that particular tree.