Time to Take Down a Tree?

More Savvy Tips

How do you know when a tree in your yard has to go? Jim Cairnes, owner of Small World Tree Company, a Diamond Certified company, says you can start with your own visual inspection of the cavities, bark, lower trunk, leaves and roots. They all provide clues when a tree is in distress or decline.

By poking around inside any cavities at the base of the tree, you can sometimes gauge how much decay there is. Another sign of internal decay is abnormal swelling on the lower trunk and fungal fruiting bodies that grow in crescent-shaped brackets out of the trunk. Sparse and pale leaves may indicate a tree is sick, as do girdling roots that can strangle a tree. Other reasons a tree may become unstable include over-irrigation, a change of grade around a tree so that it doesn’t get enough oxygen, diseases such as oak root fungus and storm damage.