How To Identify a Dead Tree in Your Yard

Many things can lead to the death of a tree, including old age, insects, various diseases, and fungus. At A & E Tree, we know that for the most part, many trees live for decades or even centuries. However, if you are a Kansas City area homeowner who suspects a tree in your yard is not doing so well, there are a few ways to determine whether or not the tree is dead.

Trees are important for many reasons. Not only do they beautify your landscape and provide shade, they are also used in everything from buildings and wood floors to paper. The death of a flower, shrub, or other plant in your yard may not be as important as the death of a tree, that somehow seems sad and even alarming.

How long do trees typically live?

The life of a tree depends on the species in many cases. For instance, while an oak or pine tree may live for two or three hundred years, a maple tree often lives as long as a century. Ornamental trees usually have a shorter life span, living on average 15 to 20 years. When a tree is dying due to old age, there is little you can do about it.

Given the severe drought in some areas of the country and torrential rains/flooding in other areas, it is no wonder that many trees die. Just like other plants, trees need nourishment and water, but too much or too little water can be devastating.

When you suspect a tree in your yard is dead or on its way, there are a few things you can do to confirm your suspicions – or hopefully, learn that the tree may not be on it’s last “limb.”

A lack of leaves either on the entire tree, or a particular section. During spring and summer months, most trees are covered with healthy leaves. If your tree doesn’t produce leaves, or leaves are only present on a portion of the tree, it could be a sign that the tree is dying.

Another symptom of a dead tree is brittle bark or a lack of bark. When a tree starts losing its bark or has lost its bark, chances are the tree is dead.

Dying limbs are another indication a tree may be dead. If sizeable limbs appear dead or fall off of the tree, or the trunk becomes brittle/sponge-like in substance, it could indicate the tree is dead.

Your tree doesn’t produce buds or leaves in spring months. If the tree looks like a brittle piece of wood with no leaves coming out in spring or early summer months, there is little doubt it has lived out its lifespan. Another sign of a dead tree is a twig or limb that cracks when you break it off, with no green tissue inside the twig/limb. When you find only brown or tan pulp that’s dry and not softer green pulp in the middle, most likely the tree is beyond help.

If you do determine that a portion of the tree in your yard is dead, but other areas seem to be alive, the best thing you can do is to have the dead area pruned or trimmed away. Pruning away any dead portion of the tree helps relieve stress, and allows the portion that is still living to receive more nutrients. It also reduces the risk of insect infestation.

Suspect a tree in your eastern Kansas yard is dead, or on its death bed? Give A & E Tree a call today. Dead trees are not only unsightly, they can be a danger to your home and family as well!