ow do you know when a tree should be removed? Some of the ways you can tell can be obvious such as if the tree is completely dead. This becomes a safety issue if the branches and limbs start to fall off. There is also a risk that the whole tree could fall also endangering your family, pets, or property. But what about trees that are still struggling? Sometimes they can recover and a lot of homeowners want to give them a chance but a partially dead tree can still be dangerous. Some of the factors to consider before making a decision are:
How close is the tree to living spaces?
The first consideration should always be the life and physical integrity. Does this tree threaten sidewalks, road, or perhaps a backyard where children can play? Is it dangerously close to housing, leaning perhaps to a bedroom or rear deck that is often busy? These are areas that you do not just want to have a tree injury that requires a visit to the hospital. According to some studies, up to 150 people a year are killed by falling trees or branches, and there is no real data on the number of injuries there. If there is a real risk for people, cut it! Another consideration is the potential legal liability as the homeowner for the safety of all your guests.
How much will it cost to treat and/or medicate versus replacing the tree?
This can be hard to quantify because everyone has their own ideas about what should be a good replacement. A small seedling may cost only $ 10, but a large sapling could cost you $ 1000 or more depending on the species and size. In addition, some diseases are easily treated with water and nutrients, but for many applications and diseases, it can be costly and require years of treatment to be effective. It is best to get a professional consultation with a certified arborist to get a full understanding of the effectiveness and cost of saving a tree before spending your hard earned money on what may be a lost cause. You can also consider replacing with a more resistant species as a better solution in the long term, dependent on the initial cause of the decline of the tree. Ultimately, the decision is yours. It can be difficult to put a price on a heritage tree.
Be realistic about a tree's chance of recovery.
Most trees will not recover from damage anywhere between 25%-50% irregardless if its from a lightning strike, wind damage, nutrient deficiencies, or decline from drought. If disease is the cause, as little as 15% cover loss can mean irreversible decline of many species of trees. Knowing the cause is key to making this assessment. Maybe the tree is just water stressed and dropped its leaves early to protect themselves. It is better to have an arborist give you a diagnostic report and be able to make an informed decision with facts in hand to save money in the long run.
Don't take bad advice.
Everyone will have an opinion and they will try to give you advice such as just give it some Miracle Grow and water it, but that may not be appropriate. There are thousands of tree species and sometimes dozens of sub-groups and hybrids within a species, unless they are a certified arborist and familiar with the kinds of trees in your area, it might as well be just a guess. Even professionals often need to send off soil or leaf samples to specify exactly the nature of what is causing a decline in a tree. Give us our arborists a call and save yourself a headache..
Think of the future.
Remember there is a good chance that most of the trees on your property will outlive you. If a tree is in decline, the faster you replace it, the earlier a healthy and well maintained tree can beautify the same area. Instead of dwelling about the end of the life of a tree, think about the early life of a new tree. A life that can probably continue for centuries!