How to Decide When to Remove a Tree

Removing a tree is a hard decision to make for most people, as trees are majestic beings that offer aesthetic and practical value. However, when a tree is terminally diseased or a threat to people or property, removal is necessary.

A dead or dying tree can become a dangerous tree, and in some cases not removing it may constitute “willful neglect” by the property owner. If a dead tree damages another’s property or injures a person (either by the fall of the tree, or branches falling), the owner can be held liable.

A dead tree is clearly a case for tree removal. Here are some other reasons to remove a tree:

  • Declining health – branches or top of tree is dying, large dead branches, decay on the main trunk
  • Major storm damage or earthquake
  • Tree is too close to a structure, utility lines, pools, or play areas
  • Nuisance – excessive seed, needles, cotton, and sap droppings
  • When roots pose a threat to driveways, foundations, pools, sidewalks, or underground utilities
  • Canopy inhibits necessary sunlight from nourishing lawn, flowers, or other preferential growth

Less obvious reasons to remove a tree include:

  • Major landscape, construction, or renovations where tree would be mortally damaged
  • Structural problems – interior decay can result in the tree being unable to hold its own weight
  • Crowding among trees
  • The tree has badly formed crotch
  • The tree leans too much – falling hazard
  • Disease or insect infestation that could spread to other trees
  • Cracks in the trunk or leaders

An unhealthy tree not only loses its majesty, it can also be unsafe, without being obvious to the casual observer. Some signs to look for if you suspect your tree may be dying, diseased, or infested include:

  • Loses leaves early
  • Leaves are discolored, lack veins, or have the appearance of odd nodules
  • Peculiar bumps on the bark
  • Branches dying off or bare branches
  • Fungus on trunk or branches
  • Vertical cracks on the trunk
  • Tree leans more than it once did – a sign of root damage

A certified arborist can assess and diagnose a tree’s health and determine whether it can be saved or if it needs to be cut down. If a tree does need to be removed, a certified arborist has the right equipment, years of experience, and the right training to tend to the task safely and without risk to people or property.

If you have a tree that needs to be removed or suspect your tree may be unhealthy, call Capitol Tree Care today at (512) 913-6833.