Many of us have trees throughout our landscape. They provide shade, aesthetic appeal and valued foliage to our property. Unfortunately, trees don’t last forever. Whether it is disease, trauma or simply the end of its lifespan, a tree can die and demand timely removal. While it is easier to spot a dead tree in the spring and summer when the surrounding vegetation is a lively green, it becomes more challenging to know if a tree is dead in the winter. After all, there are no leaves to signal its death and it is normal for a tree to go into dormancy during the cold months of the year.
The dormant season is a restful time for trees to conserve energy and prepare for the upcoming spring. The problem is that the bare branches and slow activity of a dormant tree can look very much like a dead tree – how do you know the difference?
Fortunately, there a few easy ways to check your tree in the winter and determine if it is just dormant or actually dead. Ask yourself these questions:
Does it have budding life?
Get up close and personal with your tree and examine it for tiny leaf buds. Even during its winter dormancy, a healthy tree will have buds. No buds or buds that are shriveled and dry may mean your tree is dead.
Does it have fresh bark?
Next, inspect the trunk of the tree. A healthy tree will replace its bark in cycles. Therefore, you should notice fresh bark growing in, even during the winter. Your tree may be in trouble if the trunk is badly cracked or does not have a fresh layer of bark underneath the shedding bark.
Do the twigs bend or break?
A healthy tree will have twigs that have a moist and bright green inside. You can scratch a small portion of the twig to find out. In addition, it should be more bendable than breakable. If your tree’s twigs snap easily when you bend them or they fail to have a bright green center, you may have a dead tree on your hands.
Still not sure if you have dead or dormant trees? Let a professional take a look. The last thing you want to do is leave a dead tree in your yard to pose a safety risk or remove a tree that was actually alive and healthy. At Jeremiah’s Landscape Services, our experts understand what to look for in detecting disease, fungus and death on your trees and shrubs. You can trust us for quality workmanship and honest rates when taking care of your landscape!
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