How to Tell When it’s Time for Tree Removal Mature trees are a key feature to any landscape. Not only do they contribute to the look of your home aesthetically, but also they provide protection and shade. Once you develop an attachment, it can be especially difficult to make the decision to remove a tree from your yard. Unfortunately, it becomes necessary at times, given the following conditions.
1. The tree is unhealthy.
Look for signs such as dead branches, cracked trunks, and small roots or mushrooms growing around the base of the tree. The latter could indicate there’s a problem with the root system that will lead to eventual decay and death. It’s also possible that the tree trunk could be hollow or rotten. If one-third or more of the healthy tissue on the inside is gone, then the tree should be removed. Honestly, it’s possible for large trees to live on for years with stunted or abnormal growth patterns.As a general rule of thumb, if more than half the tree becomes damaged or unhealthy, then it’s time to consider removal.
2. The tree is in the wrong place.
Where the tree was originally planted can have a huge impact on its longevity. Those that grow in particularly rocky terrain, or near water, naturally have shallow root systems that may cause problems down the road. Surprisingly, trees are especially vulnerable to change—like that which occurs during construction. They can become stressed due to alterations in the soil or to sunlight exposure and deteriorate within a few years after being spared during construction. You also have to consider how much space the tree has to grow. If there are too many too close together, they tend form one mass of roots and foliage. This can make it difficult to remove just one, or even a few, without affecting the entire grove. Its proximity to your house is also important. It’s recommended that large trees be at least 20 feet away from your house to avoid branches hanging over your home.
3. It becomes dangerous.
Ultimately, this is the more urgent reason to remove a tree, as well as the one that requires the fastest action. As we mentioned previously, when tree branches start to hang over your house that can present a safety hazard to your family. One strong storm could easily send those through your windows or roof, creating a big project apart from the tree removal. Similarly, if the tree grows too close to power lines, it can present a significant danger to those throughout the neighborhood. In wet weather, electricity can reach trees up to 10 feet away, sparking power failures, or even fires. So, you’ll want to keep the branches pruned or, if that’s not possible, pursue tree removal. Some telltale signs of safety issues include leaning trees, large dead branches congregated on one side of the tree, or already broken/falling limbs. In cases such as these, it’s wise to hire a professional who can handle the tree removal for you. For larger trees (especially those that are already damaged or weakened), even pruning can be a dangerous task. So, as you survey your landscape this spring for potential hazards, don’t hesitate to consult with a certified arborist and/or tree removal company.For more information, visit the University of Maryland Extension’s website: