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Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Is removing a dying tree a good idea?

Deciding when to remove a tree can be a long and complicated story. Many factors should be considered, such as the removal cost and the risks involved before getting rid of it. While you can let a tree die in its place if it is located in the forest, backyard trees need human involvement to take place.

Tree removal

Is not the safest job in the world; that is why it takes a certified arborist to correctly and safely perform the task. Certified arborists are experts in tree care because they have undergone several examinations and have the practical knowledge for application. When deciding to remove a tree, there is no better person to ask than a certified arborist.

“Arborist known better”

Is it a desirable species?

Trees that are considered "undesirable" are those with weak wood, frequent falling of debris, and trees that are vulnerable to infestations. Norway maple, mulberry, poplars, and willows are just some examples of these species.

Is the tree healthy?

The rule of thumb is if the tree is 50% damaged, it should be removed as soon as possible. A damaged tree can still survive for some years but will not have the capacity to grow and look as good as the healthy trees.

Is there trunk damage?

Another thing to watch out for are damages in the trunk such as cracks, seams, and older wounds because they could mean the tree is decaying. If the trunk is seriously damaged, removing it is the best action to take. However, if only 25% is affected, the wound can heal on its own without leaving serious health issues.

Is the tree hollow?

Trees that have hollow trunk can still live for years, thanks to its xylem and phloem that serve as its life support. However, a tree with a hollow trunk has compromised structural stability, which makes it a threat to every property and individual around it. Keep in mind that if a third of the trunk's circumference is hollow, it should be eliminated.

Are there large dead branches? It is hazardous to keep a large tree with large dead branches in your yard. If 25% of the tree's branches are in trouble, there is hope for it to thrive. When you see crossing branches, remove them right away. Also, make sure to take care of narrow branch angles of the primary trunk because they are prone to splitting. A certified arborist will install cables to support the branches and prevent them from breaking. Are all dead branches on one side of the tree? When the answer to this question is a resounding yes, the tree will be unbalanced, which will make it a potential threat to you and your property. A tree that has dead branches on one side suggests trunk damage or root injury on the damaged part. Ask assistance from a certified arborist to correctly evaluate the situation. Are there sprouts or small branches coming from the trunk? It is not normal for new sprouts to spring from base or trunk of the tree. This can be an indicator of a health issue within the tree's system. Trees can go through stress, particularly when they are overly exposed to the sun, soil compaction, or injury. If you suspect your tree to be under stress, have an arborist assess it, and provide the right treatment. Is the tree infested with fungus? This requires proper evaluation by a certified arborist because it can be tricky at times. Not all fungi, such as mushroom that grow at the base of the tree indicates root disease, but it can mean that the tree is suffering from internal decay. Is the root damaged? The roots of a tree are integral for its structural stability; if 50% of it is damaged, it should be removed right away. Is the tree leaning? Trees growing too tall are hazardous, but not as dangerous as those that are leaning. A leaning tree suggests problems in the roots like breakage or weakening. To prevent the tree from causing future accidents, it should be eliminated immediately. If the tree is leaning more than 15% of what is considered safe, then it has to be removed. Is the tree located near power lines? One of the most common reasons why a tree needs to be removed is when it is located under a power line. If a tree is growing near an electric line, it should be maintained and thinned out regularly to avoid growing more than 25'. Electrical wires can bend up to ten feet during a rainy day. It is enough to wet the tree's foliage and cause power outage property damage, and injury. It is a must to trim limbs and branches that are near power lines. But, it is not a job for an average homeowner. Due to the life I threatening risks involved, it should only be done by a certified arborist. What is the history of the tree? Some trees have a history of wrong pruning practices, and it will affect the present situation of its health. For instance, a tree that has undergone "topping" can lead to significant damage to the tree's health. Another factor for a tree's sudden decline is the change of soil level in the root area. A tree is more likely to die if three or more inches of soil cover its root system. With early diagnosis of these stress symptoms, trees can be saved from severe health problems. Where is the tree planted? The location of the tree should also be considered when determining whether the tree should be removed or not. Trees should be removed to make way for new construction. If trees are left planted in these areas, they eventually die after three or five years after construction due to grade change and soil compaction. Other considerations:

Is the tree obstructing anyone's view, especially on the road?Will removing the tree cause other trees to grow more in height if the tree is removed?Does it have historical value? If this is the case, it should be kept by all means. But if it will cause a threat to anyone or your property, then it should be eliminated immediately.

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