Dying Trees: Getting To The Root Of The Problem

There is no debating the benefits provided by trees, and property owners use the natural beauty of trees to provide an aesthetic source of shade that can also prevent soil run off. However, trees can become a serious threat to human health if dying ones are not properly identified and treated. Recently, ABC reported that the governor of California was forced to declare a state of emergency to seek help with the removal of trees killed by four years of drought and a bark beetle epidemic to prevent potential wildfires from spreading.  As a homeowner, you may not need to worry about entire forests, yet quickly identifying dying trees can help you prevent serious damage to your family and property.

Know the Signs of a Dying Tree

The signs of a sick tree are subtle in the beginning, and it can take years before a tree completely dies off. Spend a few minutes inspecting the trees on your property for pest infestations, such as the wood boring beetle or carpenter ants, which can significantly weaken your tree's structural integrity. A diminishing canopy, falling branches and fungal growth at the base could also indicate a dying tree. Leaning is a sign that the root system has experienced decay, and you may notice small cankers along the trunk that indicate rot.

Identify the Cause

Potential causes of tree death include drought, blight, pest infestations and damage to the root systems. Sometimes, heavy construction that disrupts the soil's drainage can cause a tree to die. Old age is also a factor to consider. If you know the species, then you might check to see what the average life expectancy is for that type of tree grown in your climate. Trees also give subtle clues as to the underlying cause of death. For example, missing patches of bark could indicate a nutritional deficiency.

Determine if Removal is Necessary

Some dead trees can remain in place for many years provided they do not pose a threat to your property or neighbors. However, it is important to have a professional tree service like MML Tree Service assess your tree to determine if it could benefit from treatment or if it should be removed. During the assessment, the tree's proximity to power lines, homes and other property will be checked. The tree may also require removal if it is lopsided or leaning at a strong angle.

Getting to the root of your tree problem is essential for creating a plan that could potentially save your tree and protect your property. As a homeowner, it is common to not notice a problem until it has become to late. For this reason, it is best to include tree inspections in your regular home maintenance plan so that minor problems can be corrected before you lose your tree.