Winters in Michigan are something of a legend. While some parts of the country shut down over a few inches of the white stuff and temperatures in the 20s, we soldier on through an unrelenting storm and bitter cold. Sometimes, it’s too much for even the trees. It’s important to look for the signs that you have a dead or dying tree on your hands.
If you have a tree that you fear didn’t make it through the winter, here are a few things you should do before pulling out the chainsaw:
Is Your Tree Really Dead?
As spring rolls around and everything springs back to life, the fact one tree hasn’t leafed out is certainly concerning. Just because it’s not responding to the season doesn’t necessarily mean your tree is a goner.
You need to determine as quickly as possible if your tree is dead. After all, a dead tree could fall suddenly, especially in a windstorm, and must be removed immediately. If the tree isn’t dead, it might be suffering from a disease, and if you act quickly you could save it.
- First, walk around the tree and inspect it carefully. Obviously, if even just a few branches have leaves on them, the tree is alive, even if it’s not in good health. Look closely for buds, which mean new growth is about to sprout.
- Branches that hold onto leaves throughout the winter, instead of dropping them, that’s usually a sign the branch is dead. Several dead branches on one side of the tree might indicate a severe trunk or root problem.
- Try bending some of the smaller branches on the tree. If they snap, those branches are dead. Multiple dead branches could indicate you have a dead or dying tree.
- Examine the trunk for cracking in the bark. If new bark has replaced the old stuff that fell off, the tree is likely just fine. However, smooth wood instead of bark on different areas of the trunk is usually not a good sign.
- Finally, there’s the tree scratch test. Scrape off the bark on one part of the trunk until you expose the wood underneath. It should be green if the tree is alive. If it’s not, the wood will be brown.
Saving a Dying Tree
If you have a tree you believe is still alive but doesn’t seem to be doing well, there might be hope in saving it. A professional arborist can assess the health of the tree and determine exactly what can be done to bring it back to full health.
In the case that the tree can’t be saved, the arborist can assist with removing the tree and preparing the ground for a new one. They can even recommend what tree to plant. As a professional tree service, we can help.
For assistance with anything tree-related, contact the professional team at PPM Tree Service & Arbor Care, LLC today.