Tree removal isn’t fun or easy, but sometimes it’s necessary. When disease control or pruning is not enough, tree removal may be needed to prevent hazardous situations for people and property.

The Secret Life of Trees

Some trees have a special knack for looking fine on the outside while silently suffering on the inside. To the untrained eye, your tree may look like it’s growing well, but it could actually be crying out for help. A tree can struggle on for years and years before finally succumbing to tree failure, potentially causing injury or destruction as it falls.

The good news is, you can usually tell when a tree needs to be removed if you know what to look for.

Signs Your Tree Should Be Removed

When inspecting your trees, it’s easiest to start at the top and work your way down. If you’ve said yes to one or more of the below questions, contact one of the Friendly Tree experts to assess your tree before it becomes a hazard.

Are there dead or dying branches in the tree’s crown? Crown dieback is usually a symptom of tree stress and large, dead branches can seriously injure those below.

Is the tree suddenly leaning to one side? Some trees naturally lean to one side, but if your tree suddenly starts leaning, this could indicate a structural problem.

Are the tree’s branches growing close to power lines or structures? Proper planning can usually prevent situations like this, but as they say — hindsight is 20/20. When a tree gets too close to power lines, it can quickly become a hazard and should be evaluated by a professional. Homes or other structures built too close to a tree can lead to a compromised root system and cause expensive problems down the road. The rule of thumb is 20 feet away from any structure.

Are the tree’s leaves and trunk showing signs of infection? Discolored or misshapen leaves, emergence holes and feeding galleries in the trunk, thin leaf cover, and stunted growth all indicate infection. If you notice any of these signs, have your tree inspected for pests and diseases.

Is the trunk compromised? Cracks splits or large wounds in the tree’s trunk are bad signs and point to internal decay. Trees can survive for a long time with internal decay before falling. Some trees can even remain standing for a while with completely hollow trunks (these are a hazard and must be removed as soon as possible).

Are there root defects? Root defects tend to be the hardest to spot. Fungi growing near the base of the trunk is a sign of root decay and should sound off the warning bell. Sprouts emerging at the base of a tree also indicate a compromised root system. This tends to occur when the tree is too close to structures or other construction, like sidewalks and driveways.

Not every tree failure can be prevented — but many can if the appropriate measures are taken. Now is the perfect time to inspect the trees on your property for potential issues before they become big problems.

If you need help determining if your tree needs to be removed, or you need an expert to do the job, Friendly Tree can help. Our certified arborists adhere to ANSI standards for tree care practices, and assessments are always free.