Trees have a long lifespan, with some species even living for centuries. However, many factors can lead to dead or sick trees besides old age. Many ask, “When is a tree considered dead?” 

Knowing when a tree is dying or already dead can help homeowners decide their next course of action. We’ll explore the tell-tale signs of a dead tree in your yard and when to call tree removal contractors in Marietta

Common Signs of a Dead Tree

Some common signs of a dead or dying tree may include: 

Multiple Dead Branches

It’s common for trees to have dead branches, especially as they get older. However, the following symptoms may indicate a dead, dying, or stressed tree:

  • You can locate numerous dead branches throughout your tree’s canopy 
  • Some areas of the tree have a sudden drop in the number of branches
  • Vast areas of the tree contain dead branches 

Another sign to look out for is falling branches. If you need to pick up more branches than usual, your tree might be dying. 

Issues With the Tree Trunk 

When answering, “When is a tree considered dead?” many experts will look at the tree’s trunk. Some tell-tale signs will often pop up on a tree’s trunk, including: 

  • Several sections of the trunk’s bark are peeling.
  • Diseases like rot or fungal infections are present around the trunk’s circumference. The trunk will be brown and brittle in these scenarios. 
  • Your tree has a hollowed-out trunk or a trunk with gaping holes.

Issues With Your Tree’s Roots

Tree roots are another indicator of a dead or dying tree. When inspecting your tree roots for decay, look for: 

  • Mushrooms on or close to your tree roots or your tree flare (the spot where the trunk turns into roots, penetrating soil)
  • Roots pulling away from the ground, unbalancing the tree
  • Suckers growing from roots around your tree or your tree’s base

Pest Infestations Like Carpenter Ants

Trees are tiny ecosystems for all sorts of life, especially insects. While most insects are harmless and help a tree’s growth, some are pests that feed on decaying or dead trees. Homeowners should inspect a tree’s trunk for pests like carpenter ants. 

A common sign of insects attacking your tree is sawdust forming around the trunk’s base, indicating that carpenter ants or other pests have chewed through your tree’s trunk. If you notice this, call the experts at Southeast Tree to eliminate these invaders.

Peeling Bark 

Peeling bark can also indicate that a tree is dead or dying. Bark essentially acts as a tree’s skin, protecting it from weather events and harmful insects and animals. So, peeling bark either means a tree is dead or dying, or it’s not getting enough nutrients. 

Checking Your Tree Foilage 

A dying tree’s first signs often appear in your tree’s foliage. It’s not uncommon for foliage to wilt, droop, and turn yellow and brown before falling off. Other foliage signs that can indicate your tree is unhealthy include: 

  • Deciduous trees that don’t have leaves come August might be dying. 
  • Absent buds on deciduous trees from the prior growing season can also indicate a dying or dead tree. 
  • For evergreen trees, needles or leaves that turn brown at the tips of your branches can mean your trees are decaying. 
  • In general, you should investigate any severe decline of foliage in any tree. 

Let Southeast Tree Help Today 

Trying to determine, “When is a tree considered dead?” can be tricky and often requires a diagnosis from an expert team. Our Southeast Tree team can diagnose if your tree is dying or already dead and help you explore options. 

For info on removing dead trees and caring for trees struck by lightning, call Southeast Tree at 770-977-8733


SoutheastTree is one of the best, top rated full-service tree removal companies serving the Atlanta, GA area. Our team of trained arborists are experts in the art and science of removing trees.

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4710 Lower Roswell Rd. Suite 100
Marietta, GA 30068

Phone : 770-977-8733 (TREE)

24/7 Emergency Tree Removal:
(678) 631-7382

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