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How to Identify a Dead Tree on Your Property

It is tricky for an untrained eye to identify a dead or dying tree. You may walk past a dead tree when you are unaware of what signs to look for. A dead tree can be a potential hazard to your family and property, so it is vital to remove it as soon as possible.

At DreamWorks Trees, removing a tree is always the last alternative. We are a leading tree care specialist in Toronto, and we will examine all options to ensure there is no way to save the tree. Once all avenues have been exhausted, we will get to work removing your tree. This article will discuss a few critical indications to check if your tree is dead or dying.

4 Reasons Why Trees Die


Trees are mighty living things with the ability to resist weather changes and other damaging factors present in their surroundings. However, just as every living being has a lifespan, trees eventually die due to age. Healthy trees experience a slow dying process that may take years to complete.


Diseases such as chestnut blight may result in sudden death. A tree may also die due to fungal infections such as oak wilt that invades through the roots, leaves, and wounds. Without proper tree care, the disease can damage the foundation, eventually leading to death.

Pest Infestation

Insects such as emerald ash borers and pine beetles can invade trees and cause death. The infestation can also spread to surrounding trees if the problem is not dealt with by a professional tree care service.

Stressful Environment

A regular tree care routine plays a crucial role in determining your tree’s health. If your tree is planted in a dry area, it may die due to a lack of water. A dry environment, soil with a high concentration of salt, ground pollution, and extreme heat are other factors that may cause stress.

How Long Do Trees Live?

Every tree species has a different lifespan. Palms can live up to 50 years, while the Alaska red cedar can live 3500 years. Ornamental trees have a shorter lifespan of 15 to 20 years. If a tree gets adequate air, water, and essential nutrients, it should enjoy a full lifespan.

5 Signs to Identify a Dead Tree

Odd Shape

A tree leaning 15 degrees or more away from its original position indicates a health issue. When you see the tree is taking an unusual shape, consider consulting an arborist to address the issue.

Signs of Decay

Cavities, rotten stems or branches, and mushroom-like spores on roots are a few signs that signify a health problem.

Trunk Damage

Look for deep splits or vertical cracks on the trunk. They may lead to serious issues or the fall of the tree. Missing bark may indicate a fungal infection. Older trees with severe damage imply that your tree may be dead.

Bare Branches

A tree with bare or brittle branches is a common sign of an issue. If you find branches half full of leaves and half bare, your tree is partially diseased. If you have a deciduous tree, see if the leaves fall off in the winter. If they don’t, it may be a sign that your tree is dead.

Scratch Test

A scratch test is an effective way to determine your tree’s health. Take a small knife and scratch the exterior of a branch. If the layer inside the bark is green, it indicates a healthy tree. Be sure to check this method on a few branches. If the branch is dry and has dead or brittle twigs, that portion may be dying.

How to Manage a Dead Tree

Typically, it takes an expert eye to confirm if your tree is dead or dying. If you suspect your tree is dead, consider calling a licensed arborist as soon as possible. The tree care expert will conduct a thorough inspection to check for any solution to save the tree. Or, as a last resort, they will provide a safe solution for tree removal.

We Offer Complete Tree Care Services

How to Identify a Dead Tree on Your PropertyIf you are looking for a professional tree care service in Toronto, DreamWorks Trees is your best option. We are a well-known tree care specialist in the region with licensed arborists skilled at providing a wide range of services.

We implement safe techniques and efficient solutions to ensure the protection of your property and its surroundings. If you suspect a dead tree on your property, call our expert arborists to evaluate the tree’s condition. We will provide an optimum tree care solution depending on the situation.

If you have questions about your trees, contact us at 647-924-2627 or fill out our contact form for a free property assessment.

Also Read: An Arborist from a Tree Removal Company Can Assess if a Tree is Sick or Dying

11+ years of experience maintaining trees the right way

We offer the best tree care services to maintain your property while ensuring the health of your trees by providing reliable tree care solutions.