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Saving or Sawing - When is it Time to Say Goodbye to Your Tree?






Do you ever find yourself scratching your head and wondering if it’s time to cut the tree in your yard? If so, then don't worry – you are not alone! With Tree Fish Tree Service, we can help make this decision a lot easier with our log dropping tips for when to remove or trim a tree. So grab your saws and join us on an adventure through the trees as we uncover all the secrets about when to say goodbye to your beloved backyard greenery. Let's get started!



1. Signs of Disease

If a tree is displaying signs of disease, it may be necessary to consider removal in order to prevent the spread of the illness to other trees in the area. Some common signs of tree disease include discolored or wilting foliage, the presence of fungus or other growths on the trunk or roots, and bark that is cracked or peeling. Be sure to visit the Tree Fish disease and fertilization page for more information.


Discolored or wilting foliage:

Some common types of tree diseases that can cause discolored or wilting foliage include oak wilt, Dutch elm disease, and verticillium wilt. Oak wilt is a fungal disease that affects oak trees and causes wilting and discoloration starting from the top branches of the tree. Dutch elm disease is caused by a fungal pathogen and causes yellowing and wilting of the tree's leaves, eventually leading to death. Verticillium wilt is caused by a soil-borne fungus and can affect a wide range of trees, causing yellowing, wilting, and stunted growth. It's important to identify these diseases early on in order to prevent them from spreading and causing further damage to your trees and neighboring foliage.


Fungal growth:

If you notice fungus or other growths around the trunk or roots of your tree, it may be a sign of Root Rot. Root rot is caused by a variety of fungi that attack the roots of trees, causing them to decay and ultimately killing the tree. Some common symptoms of root rot include mushrooms or other fungal growths around the base of the tree, a general decline in the tree's health, and yellowing or wilting of leaves. Root rot is often caused by poor drainage or overwatering, so it's important to monitor the soil around your trees and ensure that they are not being overwatered.


Tree Cankers:

Bark that is cracked or peeling can be a telltale sign of various types of tree diseases. One such disease is called canker disease, which appears as dead areas on the bark and often leads to cracking or peeling. This disease is caused by fungi that enter through a tree's bark and then spread throughout the cambium layer, which is responsible for transporting water and nutrients throughout the tree. Canker disease can weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to other diseases or pests.

Another type of disease that can cause bark cracking or peeling is called sunscald. This occurs when the bark's temperature rises too high in direct sunlight, causing it to dry out and crack. Sunscald damage can weaken the tree and increase its susceptibility to pests and other diseases.


2. Pests

If your tree is showing signs of decline, it could be due to a pest infestation. Pests can cause irreversible damage to trees and shrubs if left unchecked, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs early on in order to prevent further damage. Some common indicators that your tree may be under attack from pests include discolored or wilting foliage, the presence of holes in the bark or leaves, and an increase in insect activity around the tree. Michigan is home to a wide variety of pests that can wreak havoc on trees and other plants. Some of the most common types of pest infestations in Michigan include emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, and Japanese beetle.


Emerald Ash Borer

The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has caused significant damage to ash trees in Michigan and other parts of the United States. These small, metallic green beetles lay their eggs on the bark of ash trees, and the larvae bore into the tree and feed on the inner bark, which disrupts the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. Infested trees typically exhibit thinning foliage and dieback of branches, and they eventually die within two to four years of infestation.


The Gypsy Moth

The gypsy moth is another invasive pest that has caused problems in Michigan. These moths are voracious feeders and can defoliate large areas of forest in a short period of time. The larvae feed on the leaves of trees, and when populations are high, they can completely strip a tree of its foliage, leaving it vulnerable to other pests and diseases.


The Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle is another common pest in Michigan. These beetles feed on the leaves, flowers, and fruits of a variety of trees and shrubs, including oak, cherry, and grape. Adult beetles emerge in early summer and begin feeding right away, leaving behind large, irregular holes in leaves. Their feeding can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to other pests and diseases.

In addition to these pests, Michigan is also home to a variety of other insect pests and diseases that can cause problems for trees and other plants. Proper identification and treatment of pest infestations is critical to maintaining the health and vigor of Michigan's trees and forests.


3. Dead Branches

Dead branches are a common sight in many trees, but if left unchecked they can cause significant damage to the tree and its surroundings. As dead branches decay, they become brittle and may easily break may attract pests, which can spread to other areas of the tree or surrounding vegetation.

In some cases, removing a tree entirely may be the most cost-effective solution, particularly if the tree is in poor condition and poses a safety risk. Trying to trim away dead material may be a temporary fix, but if the tree is already severely damaged, it may not recover or may require extensive and costly pruning in the future.


4. Structural Issues

Trees with structural issues like cracks in trunks or leaning branches are likely candidates for removal. These issues can be caused by extreme weather, pests, or diseases and can make a tree unsafe to climb or be around. In some cases, the damage may not be visible from the ground but can still compromise the integrity of the tree and increase its risk of falling or toppling over during storms.


Structural issues are a common problem for trees and can put them at risk of falling or toppling over during storms. There are several ways in which a tree can become structurally compromised, including:


Improper Pruning

Improper pruning can weaken a tree's structure and cause it to become unstable. This can occur when the tree is over-thinned, leaving it with weak branches that are prone to breaking or splitting. It can also happen when the tree is topped, which removes the upper portion of the tree and leaves it vulnerable to disease and pests.


Disease and Pests

Disease and pest infestations can weaken a tree's structure by damaging its roots, trunk, or branches. This can lead to deadwood, cracks, or cavities in the tree, which compromise its stability. Some common diseases that can cause structural issues in trees include root rot, canker, and dieback.


Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events such as high winds, heavy rain, or snow can cause damage to a tree's structure. This can result in broken or split branches, leaning trunks, or uprooted trees. In some cases, the damage may not be visible from the ground but can still compromise the integrity of the tree.


Natural Aging

As trees age, they become more susceptible to structural issues. This is because the wood becomes weaker and more prone to cracking, splitting, or breaking. Deadwood can also accumulate, increasing the tree's risk of falling or losing branches.


It is important to have your trees inspected regularly by a professional arborist to identify and address any structural issues before they become a safety hazard. Proper pruning, disease management, and tree care can help maintain the health and structure of your trees, ensuring they remain safe and beautiful for years to come.


5. Leaning

Tree lean can be a major cause of concern for homeowners and property owners alike. When trees start to lean, it is often an indication that the tree’s root system has been damaged or weakened in some way. If left unchecked, this leaning can lead to significant structural issues which may require the removal of the tree entirely. In extreme cases, leaning trees can become a safety hazard and must be removed immediately in order to protect people and property from potential damage or injury.


If a tree's root ball has been pulled up and is showing above ground, it is a clear indication of significant damage to the tree's root system. A root ball, also known as the tree's root plate, is the mass of roots that anchor the tree to the ground and absorb water and nutrients from the soil. When a root ball is pulled up, it can be caused by a number of factors, including:


- Soil erosion due to heavy rain or flooding

- Construction or excavation work that damages the roots

- Vehicle damage from heavy equipment or vehicles parking on the root zone

- Poor drainage or soil compaction that inhibits root growth


Pulling up a root ball exposes the tree's roots to air, which can cause them to dry out and die. This, in turn, can lead to leaf loss, stunted growth, and ultimately, death of the tree.

In some cases, it may be possible to save a tree with a damaged root ball by replanting it and providing proper care to encourage new root growth. However, this is a delicate process that should be carried out by a professional arborist who has experience dealing with root ball damage.


6. Crowding of other plant life

Crowded trees can compete for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients from the soil, often resulting in weaker growth. If you have multiple trees that are crowding each other out, consider removing some of them in order to give other trees more space and resources.


Overcrowding is a common problem in trees that can lead to weaker growth and poor overall health.

One of the easiest ways to tell if your trees are suffering from overcrowding is to look for signs of competition for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients. Trees that are growing too close to one another may have thin or spindly growth, small leaves, or a lack of flowers or fruit.


Another telltale sign of overcrowding is a lack of space between the trees. When trees are too close together, their branches may intertwine and rub against each other, causing damage and making them more vulnerable to disease and pests. This can also make it more difficult to prune and maintain the trees properly.

Overcrowding can also lead to increased soil compaction, which can inhibit root growth and lead to nutrient deficiencies. The roots of overcrowded trees may become stunted or twisted, making it more difficult for them to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.


In addition to the negative effects on tree health, overcrowding can also pose a safety hazard. Trees that are growing too close together may be more likely to fall during extreme weather events or become a hazard to people and property.

If you suspect that your trees are suffering from overcrowding, it is important to consult with a professional arborist who can assess the situation and recommend the best course of action. This may include pruning, removing some of the trees, or transplanting them to a new location with more space and resources.


7. Proximity To Buildings

Trees can be beautiful additions to any property, but when they are too close to structures such as homes and buildings, they can pose a variety of risks. Trees that grow too close to buildings can cause damage due to roots pushing up foundations or branches scraping against the exterior. In some cases, trees may even become a safety hazard if their growth is left unchecked near power lines or other infrastructure. It is important for homeowners and business owners alike to understand the potential dangers posed by trees growing too close to structures in order to protect both people and property from harm.


When trees grow too close to buildings, their roots can interfere with the integrity of foundations. As the roots spread out and grow deeper into the soil, they may push up on foundations or even cause them to crack or shift. This is especially true in areas prone to flooding or heavy rains, as water can soften the soil and make it easier for tree roots to penetrate a foundation. In addition, large tree roots can create small pathways for water to enter around a building’s foundation, leading to moisture buildup that weakens its structural stability over time.


8. Storm Damage

Heavy storms can cause significant damage to trees, ranging from the loss of branches and leaves to the uprooting of entire trees. In some cases, a damaged tree may need to be removed in order to prevent further harm or injury. Storms can also leave behind debris that must be cleared away in order for a tree service professional to properly assess any underlying issues with the health of your trees. If you have experienced storm damage on your property, it is important to contact an experienced arborist as soon as possible in order to determine whether or not removal is necessary. Be sure to visit the Tree Fish emergency services page for more information about storm damaged trees!


Need an Expert Opinion?

Our team is dedicated to preserving the beauty and safety of your property by offering a variety of services that cater to your specific needs. If you suspect overcrowding, proximity to buildings, or storm damage has affected your trees, our team of certified arborists is available for consultation. We utilize state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to ensure that your trees remain vibrant and structurally sound.


Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you maintain healthy and beautiful trees for years to come. Let our expertise and experience work for you, so you can enjoy the beauty of your property with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your trees are in the best possible hands.




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