One of the joys of spring is watching the bare trees on your property fill out with soft, new growth and flowering buds. However, if a tree isn’t looking like it should, you may be wondering if it’s time to have it removed. At Westcoast Tree Care, our certified arborist uses a variety of tests to determine whether or not a tree should be saved. That’s why we’d like to provide you with a deeper understanding of some of the tests we perform and the warning signs we look out for when evaluating the health of a tree.
One of the major benefits of hiring a certified arborist is the ability to assess a tree from a visible standpoint. From the ground, it can be very difficult to spot problems within a canopy, especially if a tree is very large. However, a certified arborist has the training, tools, and experience to climb, touch, and examine a tree of any height.
When assessing the health of a tree, a certified arborist will check to see how it’s branches respond to movement. Dead branches move differently than live branches. More often than not, the movement and reaction of a tree is enough to identify whether or not it is healthy. When a tree dies, branches become brittle and less flexible. This, in turn, can create a hazardous situation because movement plays a major role in how a tree will handle the wind, rain, and snow. A healthy tree will dissipate the weight of the elements through movement resulting in less force to its branches. A dead tree, however, will lose its flexibility, posing a greater risk of breaking or falling over completely under heavy weather loads.
When a tree dies, it will start to breakdown by means of fungal decomposition. Signs to look out for include mushrooms, cavities, insect damage, dead branches and soft, breakable wood. It is especially important to have a certified arborist assess a tree if you spot mushrooms on its trunk or around its base. While decay may not automatically render a tree unsafe, it’s important to have a preventative tree care inspection done by a certified arborist to make sure it is relatively healthy and safe from failure. Keep in mind, however, that if a tree shows signs of excessive decay, an emergency tree care removal may be necessary to prevent damage to your home or property.
The bark on a tree serves many purposes. It not only retains moisture for living tissues, it helps regulate temperature and protects the inside of a tree from the outside elements. When a tree dies, its bark no longer serves its purpose and will eventually shed from the tree. Discolored or missing bark is a good sign that a tree may be dying and needs to be removed.
In the spring, a tree will form buds that will develop into leaves and flowers. Buds are a good sign that a tree is healthy and functioning properly. However, a tree that lacks its normal buds can indicate a dead or dying tree. Depending on the size and species of a tree, it may be difficult to assess the health of a tree just by looking at its buds. That’s why it’s important to hire a certified arborist if you suspect the health of your tree may be compromised.
Color is another indicator of whether or not a tree is healthy. While the color of a tree’s bark can vary, a healthy tree will have green, chlorophyll filled, photosynthetic cells just beneath the bark layer. When a tree dies, however, the green evidence of life will disappear. On young branches or thin barked trees a scratch test can be performed to determine whether or not it is dead. However, this test should never be performed routinely as it can result in injury to a tree by removing a small section of bark.
Preventative Tree Care
If you suspect your tree is dead or unhealthy, contact Westcoast Tree Care. Our certified arborist is trained in all aspects of arboriculture and will assess the health and stability of your tree based on its type, size, location and overall appearance. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If there is any way to save your tree we will do our best to help while providing you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote and answering any questions you may have. Contact us at 1.800.767.8733 (TREE).