1.   One of the most evident signs that a tree needs to be removed is when it has branches are falling all over your property or the branches are hanging low, obstructing areas of your property. If such branches break off during bad weather, they can fall on the property and damage your home as well as your gutter systems and siding. Repairing a roof can quite expensive, and it may be worth getting rid of the sapling to save your investment. Yes, this removal can be expensive, but it will surely cost less than the repairs you will make to your home if a big ole woody were to fall on it.  However, it is important to note that not all sapling’s with overhanging branches should be cut down. If the branches are small, you can trim them to salvage the trunk. However, if the large branches or the upper part of the trunk is leaning towards a building, then it should be removed to prevent it from falling. If you are unsure on what to do, have an arborist check it out for you.

2.   Missing bark or deep cracks could be a sign it is time to cut down your hardwood. An area where bark is missing, gashed or indented is called a “canker”. This can make the timber more likely to break at that spot, which can cause home owners confusion if the wood looks OK. Deep cracks in bark are a bad sign, as well and may imply that your sapling is not as structurally sound as it once was. Your best bet is to have a professional take a look to see what needs to be done.

3.   Take a good look at the base of the tree. Its roots are a strong indicator of its health. When inspecting its base, be sure to pay attention to the ground around the base of the trunk. Occasionally, visible roots can just be a sign of bad soil. While this can cause a hardwood to fall if its roots are not properly rooted, there are steps you can take to improve the life of your soil and keep from having to cut the timber down. If you notice that the sapling’s roots are visibly damaged or decaying, this may indicate that it has lost some of its structural support. This puts it at a greater risk of falling anytime. Make sure to look closely at the base of the trunk where it meets the ground and consider dirt and rock conditions. If you notice any space between the tree and the ground, a new lean may have occurred causing the trunk and roots to be structurally unsound and in danger of falling. The less contact the roots have with the ground, the less friction of the roots against the soil, and the less weight of the soil there is to hold the hardwood in place properly. By examining its base and analyzing the amount of fungus or “sawdust” found there, a trusted tree expert can determine the best way to help your sick woody.