How to Tell if a Tree Is Dead: 4 Signs to Look For

how to tell if a tree is dead

During cool winter months, trees drop their leaves, going dormant until spring. You won’t notice any signs of life until temperatures shift. But with spring weather comes signs of life like new growth.

At least, it should. Trees that lack vibrant growth are either dead or dying. At King Tree Management, we work with several tree removal experts in Vero Beach, FL. Learn how to tell if a tree is dead from their expertise.   

How to Tell if a Tree Is Dead

Although particularly old trees seem ageless, no tree is immortal. Trees can succumb to various diseases, pests, and injuries. These issues provide clues as to whether the affected tree died. 

#1 Check Beneath the Bark

Much like human skin, the bark protects the internal tissues. Healthy bark clings to the tree in a uniform pattern. Unhealthy bark might peel, crack, or fall off the trunk in chunks. If you notice this abnormal behavior, pull the bark away and check underneath. 

Since bark damage sometimes happens due to animal activity, inspect the area beneath the damage before removing the tree. Do you see signs of decay like soft, squishy wood or large dark spots? If so the tree may be in poor health and on the verge of death. 

#2 No Fresh Growth

Part of learning how to tell if a tree is dead involves keeping an eye out for new growth. Trees lose their leaves in autumn. Throughout winter, their spindly branches remain bare. 

But spring should bring delicate green leaves and fresh branch growth. Do your tree’s limbs lack new growth despite the changing seasons? No green growth almost always means a long dead tree. 

#3 Fungal Growth

Rotting wood isn’t always obvious. It can range from soft and mushy to hard, dry, and dusty. Sometimes, only professional arborists can spot new wood decay. However, nature provides one tell-tale sign that you can easily observe. 

Rotting wood offers the perfect habitat for fungi to grow and spread. Turkey tails, mushrooms, and other types of fungi will quickly overtake a sick or dying tree. They use the decayed organic materials as an energy source to fuel their spread. 

#4 Cracked Trunk

A tree’s trunk provides limitless information about the tree’s life through scars, cracks, openings, and other oddities. A severely injured trunk signifies a tree that won’t survive. Cracked tree trunks develop for numerous reasons:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Structural instability 
  • A wound that spread down the trunk

Most trees can’t survive such cracks. Call a tree removal company if you see one. 

Don’t Wait to Eliminate Dead Trees with King Tree Management

Learning how to tell if a tree is dead could save your property or your life. Although dead trees can stand just as tall as living ones for years, they can cause severe damage when they do eventually fall. They can crush cars, buildings, and people caught in the fall zone.

Do you have a dead tree on your property? Let our team at King Tree Management eliminate the danger. Call (772) 633-1939 for emergency tree services in Vero Beach, FL. 

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