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A sickly tree is more than an eyesore; it can also pose a serious threat to you and your property. Its weakened structure may collapse without warning, causing extensive damage (and possibly injuring those nearby).

That’s why it’s essential to keep an eye out for early signs of tree decline, so you can take steps to save the tree or remove it before it becomes a hazard. Here are eight common signs a tree is dying.

1. Brittle Bark

Healthy trees have hardy, supple bark. If yours is cracking, flaking, or peeling too easily, it’s a sign that the tree is in trouble. The bark may also be discolored or have deep fissures.

Bark issues leave the tree more vulnerable to further damage, so you need to act the moment you notice them.

2. Tree Root Damage

Trees rely on their root system for stability, so any damage to the roots can be devastating. Common problems include root rot (which can stem from overwatering), compaction (from too much foot traffic or heavy machinery), and girdling roots (when the roots start to grow around the trunk, choking it off).

3. Leaf Loss

Yellow, brown, wilted, or limited tree foliage is often one of the first signs a tree is dying. This problem can stem from a nutrient deficiency, pests, disease, or simply old age. If the tree is losing leaves earlier than usual in the fall, that’s also a symptom of decline.

4. Presence of Dead Wood

Test the tree’s branches by giving them a gentle push. If they’re dead, they’ll snap easily. You may also see cracks, hollow spots, or decay.

A few dead branches are usually no cause for concern, but if more than 30% of the tree is desiccated, that’s a sign that it’s in serious trouble.

5. Fungal and Pest Infestation

Do you have carpenter ant or bark beetle infestations in or near your tree? These critters thrive in decayed wood, making their presence a surefire sign of tree disease.

Fungal infestations are another common indication. They quickly grow in areas with excessive moisture, compacted soil, and decaying material. If you see cankers (depressed or discolored parts on the bark) or mushrooms growing nearby, it’s time to call a trusted tree service in Blaine.

6. Failing the Scratch Test

Underneath the sturdy bark of your tree is a softer layer called the cambium. If this layer is green, the tree is alive and well, while brown or black colors are one of the most tell-tale signs that a tree is dying.

You can test the cambium by gently scratching the bark with a sharp knife. If the cambium is healthy, it will be easy to see (and you shouldn’t be able to scrape it off with your fingernail).

7. Structural Imbalance

When a tree is sick, it’s more likely to develop structural problems. For example, a leaning trunk can indicate that the tree is uprooting, while cracks and cavities weaken its overall stability. If the tree seems like it might fall over, don’t take any chances—call in a professional to assess the situation.

Is it Possible to Save Your Tree?

It becomes impossible to bring them back to life once tree damage reaches a certain point. If you notice the signs a tree is dying or suspect that your tree is dead, we recommend removing it before it damages your property or causes bodily harm.

Timber Tree Service LLC is one of the leading tree contractors in Washington, and we’re here to help you determine the best solution for your problem. To learn more about their tree removal service, contact (360) 441-5033 today. Timber Tree Service LLC is available 24/7 to take your call.

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