When Should You Say Goodbye to an Old Tree?

Trees are a staple of any landscape. In addition to adding color, natural beauty and character to our cities and neighborhoods, they aid the environment by enriching the air with oxygen and fertilizing the earth. Despite all this, some trees can become a danger to their surroundings for various reasons. They might contain harmful rot or insects, or might be unstable and threatening to nearby structures and people. How do we know when tree removal is necessary? Let’s look at some major factors to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to get rid of that creaky old tree in your front yard.

Undesirable Species

Learn the species of the tree in question. Some species are harmful to the plants and people around them. These include black locust, box elder, mulberry, poplars and many others. These undesirable species can be bad for several reasons: their branches might easily break, they may drop large quantities of debris, their roots can crack sidewalks and pavement, and they can be infested with diseases or insects. These species are almost always good candidates for tree removal, especially if they grow close to your home.

Tree Health

Unhealthy trees often have to be let go. If a tree is about 50% damaged, it should be removed. Tree damage comes in many forms. Rot, vertical splits down the trunk, stubs of dead branches, heavy growths of fungus and insect infestation all indicate a sick tree. Major internal damage is an almost sure sign that the tree needs to go. If the interior of the trunk is one-third hollow or rotted, tree removal is highly recommended.

Dangers Posed by the Tree

Are there dying tree branches hanging over the roof of your house? Sick branches need to be looked at by a professional. Though the tree itself may be healthy, sick branches can easily fall and hurt people or damage property. Is the tree near a power line? If so, call a professional to come and trim branches that grow too close to electrical wires. If a tree leans on an angle instead of standing straight up, it poses a serious hazard and should be removed immediately.

Space and Environment

Some trees can grow close to homes and other trees without consequence. Learn the breeds of the trees on your property, and then determine whether their growth patterns pose a danger to you, to your home or to other trees. Certain breeds are hazardous if they stand too close to your home. Some trees are damaging to other plants growing around them. You may remove a tree that hogs nutrients and resources to the detriment of surrounding trees, plants and grass.

Deciding on tree removal requires close observation, and a little research. Know your tree species, and learn how to distinguish a healthy one from an unhealthy one. When in doubt, contact a professional. As hard as it is to say goodbye to a wise old tree, doing so might make your property much safer.

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