5 Tell-Tale Signs that Your Tree is Dying

Trees are excellent features of a landscape. They can significantly enhance the curb appeal of your property and provide ample shade and shelter to various wildlife and plants. However, unhealthy and dying trees can pose a risk to your home and the people around you. 


At Ballarat Tree Removal, we have encountered a lot of insect-infested and dying trees. The signs can be quite obvious sometimes, but there are also instances when the signs are not that noticeable yet. Besides that, the signs can also differ depending on the tree type. That is why we have curated these tell-tale signs of a dying tree. You can keep an eye out and be prepared to do the necessary actions to prevent injuries and extensive damages to your property through these signs. 

#1: Abundance of Dead Branches

Trees that shed sticks, twigs and branches usually have problems because a healthy tree has strong and flexible branches that will not easily break. Although a couple of dead sticks and branches doesn’t literally equate to a dying tree, it is still essential to inspect your trees and have a regular pruning or trimming schedule. However, if you notice the prevalence of dead branches in your tree despite regular pruning, it can signify that you have a sick tree that can potentially die after some time. 

#2: Flaking and Peeling Bark 

When a tree is dying, its bark becomes brittle, so it can eventually fall off from the tree. A peeling or flaking tree might be caused by a strong storm or other weather events. However, there are instances when there are large spots of missing barks in a tree, even in a bright and sunny season. When this happens, it might mean that the tree is not receiving enough nutrients. Besides that, there can also be various underlying issues or diseases, that when not immediately treated, can lead to the tree’s death. 

#3: Fails the Scratch Test

The scratch test is a quick way to determine if your tree is still thriving or is already dead. Beneath the tree’s dry outer layer of bark is the cambium. So if you scratch a tree using a pocket knife or finger and the cambium layer underneath is green, it means that the tree is still alive. However, if the scratched surface is dry and brown, this might mean that your tree is rotting or dying. If you do this, make sure that you repeat the scratch test on several areas of your tree. By doing so, you can check if the whole tree is already dead and needs to be immediately removed. There are also instances when only a few branches are affected, and you can still find ways to save the tree. 

#4: Leaning Tree

A leaning tree is only typical if it naturally grew at an angle. However, if you notice that your tree suddenly leans to one side, it may be a sign that its roots are damaged, starting to rot or dying. A damaged root can affect the structural integrity of your tree. So if you have a tall leaning tree in your backyard, it is best to call a professional over and have it checked. If it poses a danger to your home and the people around you, we advise that you opt for tree removal before it totally keels over. 

#5: Lack of Foliage

An obvious sign of a dying or dead tree is a lack of foliage. There can be several bare branches on one side of the tree. This event may be caused by a disease, pest infestation or root damage. Dead leaves are one of the sure signs of a dying tree because when this happens, it means that the flow of nutrients inside the tree is already obstructed. If you notice this sign, the damage to the tree may be irreversible and permanent, so the only solution you can do is to remove the tree. 

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