Tree Removal: How to Know When the Time is Right

Trees can be a useful asset to any yard. In summer, they can provide cool shade on a hot day; in winter they can protect a home from cold winds – helping to keep heating costs down. Beyond these practical applications they can simply be a pleasure to look at and sit under on a warm day!

Tree maintenance is very important, however even with regular care and trimming, a tree is a still a living object. Therefore, just as with any living being a tree can become ill, it will age and, unfortunately, it will die.

A sick, dying or dead tree is no longer an asset to a yard – it is in fact a danger. When a tree becomes a hazard, the best thing to do is, sadly, to have a professional remove it.

It’s also important to get the removal done in a timely fashion. Leave it too late and a simple removal becomes hazardous – both for your property, and for the tree surgeon.

Keep an eye out for these signs that your tree may need removing:

Poor Positioning

If the tree is growing too close to your property it will almost certainly need to be removed sooner or later. As a general rule, you don’t want any trees within 5 meters of your property at the very least. In addition, if the tree is itself over 5 meters in height, then you should add 1 meter to the distance from house to tree for every additional metre in height.

This will take into account root growth and minimize the chances of damage from falling debris. Any trees within the radius will need removing before their root growth can cause damage to your homes foundations.

Leaning Trees

Some trees acquire a lean early on but stabilize as their roots develop. A formally straight tree that has acquired a recent lean however could be a real sign of trouble. Keep a close eye on that lean, and if you notice it start to increase call a tree surgeon as soon as possible! I generally consult with my friend Alan prior to doing any major work myself. He’s been around the block a few times and actually owns an Indianapolis based tree removal company. I highly recommend contacting a local pro if you’re ever in doubt, after all, it’s better be safe than sorry.

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to project the trajectory of the tree. If it’s leaning toward an empty field or lawn then it’s not such a big deal as a tree that has begun leaning toward your house.

Dead or Dying Branches

A tree will, over time, lose many of its branches as it sustains normal damage. Monitor the branches and try to plot where they may fall to work out if it’s going to cause you a serious problem.

Repeated falling of dead branches are going to be a nuisance, and also give an indication that your tree may be in trouble. Therefore, large patches of missing foliage in summer, or higher than average levels of falling branches should warrant a visit from a tree surgeon for further investigation.

Damaged Trunk

Again as with the branches of the tree, the trunk will take a beating over the years. A healthy tree, like a healthy person, will recover from the occasional knock. If however you notice a lot of cracking and/or patches of tree trunk that have lost their protective bark then this too should be investigated by a tree surgeon.

Root Decay

Unlike the trunk and the branches, it can be harder to check for obvious signs of decay with the trees root system. Just keep an eye on the base of the tree to check for movement – suddenly raised or broken soil around the tree base is the sign of a tree in distress. Growths of mushrooms or fungus can be a sign of rotting in the root system.

Another big topic you don’t hear much about, is the value of your home and how it can be improved by keeping the area around it clear of large, and potentially dangerous trees. I would write a whole another post about it, but fortunately my buddy Alan recently published an article about it. You can check it out here and If you’ve found it useful be sure to thank him for taking the time to write it.

In conclusion, keep an eye out for one or more of these symptoms and remember it’s better to call in a tree surgeon and stop any problems early in their development.