Just as removing a piece of furniture can make a room look slightly odd at first, it would be curious to think of your backyard without your trees. Even if a single tree was removed, it would be like a missing tooth⸺as though your backyard is incomplete. But still, there are times when you need to say goodbye to one of your backyard trees. In some circumstances, the choice is yours and the tree needs to make way for garden improvements. And yet sometimes, the tree simply doesn't last. How can you tell when a tree is on its last legs… or more accurately, on its last roots?
There are many reasons why a tree can become unwell and die. Trees are living things and have a finite lifespan. It might be that the tree has come to its natural end. But then of course there can be other influences. Insect infestation, a repeated battering from the weather, or even poor soil conditions⸺these can all contribute to a tree's death.
The Look of the Tree
The physical appearance of the tree is your most obvious indication that the tree might be dead. The foliage of evergreen trees will begin to yellow before dying and falling to the ground, sometimes to be followed by smaller branches. Deciduous trees might simply fail to grow new buds when the weather warms up. While this can be a fairly clear signifier, you should also perform an additional check.
Under the Bark
Simply go up to the tree and carefully remove a small section of the bark. When the outer bark is removed, the vascular cambium is exposed. The state of this section is a measure of the tree's health. Ideally it should be green, or at least greenish. When it's brown and appears to be dry, this means that the tree might already be dead and nothing further can be done.
When the tree is dead, it needs to be removed, and the sooner the better. You might be able to cut down small trees yourself, but when the tree is large and needs to be brought down with precision so that it doesn't damage your home or other parts of your garden, then using the services of a professional tree removal company can be wise.
It can be sad when a tree needs to say goodbye, but ensure that this is in fact the case so you don't inadvertently remove a tree that could have been nursed back to health.