No one wants to lose a tree in their yard, especially one that they've nurtured from the time it was a sapling. Being able to spot tree problems early can help you possibly save the tree or at least prevent the tree from coming down in a storm and causing even more damage. Many things can cause a tree to die, from storm damage to an insect infestation to simple old age.
Signs that your tree is dying
1. There are ants or saw dust near the base of the tree. Carpenter ants are drawn to decaying wood, so if you see signs of an infestation, it's probable that your tree has a good supply of dead wood, even if its not apparent on the outside of the tree. Trees generally decay from the inside out.
2. Mushrooms are growing on the tree's bark. Mushrooms feeding on the bark of your tree is another sign that something serious is going on with your tree. Like carpenter ants, many species of mushrooms feed on dead and decaying wood.
3. There are holes or cracks in the tree bark. If you see holes or cracks in the bark of one of your trees, this is an indication of stress to the trunk of the tree, the lifeline of the entire structure. This decline will compromise the integrity of the whole tree and it will eventually die. If this problem is caught early enough, the tree may be able to be saved.
4. More than one-third of the branches are dead. An occasional dead branch is normal and happens periodically due to harsh weather and other factors. However, if more than one-third of your tree's limbs are without leaves, then it's time to have the tree removed.
5. The bark is damp and spongy. Few trees thrive in damp, wet soil. If your property has flooded repeatedly or you have a drainage problem, this will eventually affect the health of your trees. A tree that's absorbing too much water will be damp to the touch.
6. Your tree is lopsided. A healthy tree is roughly symmetrical, with branches of around the same length and spread around the entire tree. If new branches seem stunted, it could be a sign that your tree isn't getting enough nutrients, likely because of root decay.
No homeowner wants to lose a tree. However, keeping an eye on your trees' health can prevent a tree coming down unexpectedly and possible costly repairs. If you are unsure of the state of your trees, you can call a tree service, such as Pioneer Tree & Landscape, Inc., for a diagnosis.