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6 Dead Giveaways Your Tree Needs Attention

Home Depot
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6 Dead Giveaways Your Tree Needs Attention | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Trees do more than just clean the air. They also increase property values, cool homes and have even been shown to improve health and lower anxiety.

These stately giants are everywhere around us, but it’s not until we notice something’s off that most of us stop to truly inspect our trees. The earlier you spot tree problems, the sooner you can take action.

Being proactive is the best way to keep your trees healthy. If you find signs of decay, removal of the dying or dead tree can keep you and those around you safe from falling branches or the tree itself.

The trick is identifying what’s wrong with your tree in the first place. Once you’ve identified the problem, and before pruning and removing trees, contact a professional Certified Arborist who can safely care for your trees and property.

6 Ways to spot a tree in Trouble


Trees | The Home Depot's Garden Club

1. Damaged Roots

Start from the ground up and look at the trees’ roots. Inspect roots closely if you’ve done excavation or construction projects near the tree recently. Look for heaving ground, severed roots or signs of decay, such as mushrooms, around the roots.


Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

2. Trunk Damage

Look at the tree’s root collar, the area of the trunk just above the soil. Look for peeling or loose bark, cracks or deep slits in the tree. Inspect the rest of the trunk for signs of decay such as swelling, cankers, cavities, soft or deteriorating wood, or small holes.


Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

3. Branches

The easiest way to spot tree damage is by looking at the branches. Bare branches when they should be covered in leaves, dead branches solely on one side of a tree, or brittle branches can indicate serious trunk and root damage. Weak branch unions with the trunk are a sign of trouble that may be reversible with pruning and may help your tree recover.


Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

4. Fungus

Look for fungi on the trunk, branches or leaves. Leaves will display spots, holes or odd colors. Large fungi, such as mushrooms, may grow on the trunk or branches and can be a sign of internal rot.


Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

5. Leaning

If a tree is leaning or has been uprooted and all the roots are exposed or the roots that are exposed are damaged or showing signs of decay, the tree should be removed.You may be able to save your tree if more than one-third of the root system is still firmly in the ground and the exposed roots do not look damaged. If the tree is young and leaning, it may just need to be supported for a growing season with a tree staking kit to promote upright growth and a strong root system.


Tree | The Home Depot's Garden Club

6. Location

Look at where and how your tree is growing. Make sure it is not growing into overhead wires and its roots aren’t affecting underground pipes. If overhead wires are a problem, check to see if trimming the tree’s canopy is an option before removing the tree. Next, make sure there is enough room around the tree for future growth, including distance from walkways, driveways, wires and permanent structures. 

Pruning large trees and removing trees can be dangerous and should be done only by individuals who are trained to work safely in trees. Contact Certified Arborists, the professionals known as tree doctors, before pruning or removing large trees.

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