Warning Signs It Might Be Time To Remove Your Tree

April 30, 2020

Having one or two trees in your backyard can have a significant aesthetic impact. Trees also add a lot of value to your property. Since trees are quite essential for human survival and have pleasant effects on our environment, it becomes tough to consider removing trees.

For some people, getting rid of trees makes their property look empty. For others, it might give them feelings of emptiness and missing something of value in their yard. However, there comes a time when removing trees becomes a necessity, like safety concerns, tree decay, and other related problems.

Now, let’s discuss some of the top warning signs that could indicate that you should remove your trees from your property:

Tilted Tree

One of the most evident signs that your tree should be removed from your private property is that it has shifted from its normal upright position. A tree that tilts to one side has likely suffered from trunk or root damage. Due to this, it might not be structurally strong enough to keep itself up for a more extended time.

Initially, it’s not easy to see whether your tree has already begun to lean one side or not. For this, keep a close eye on the root structure of your tree. When roots break out of the ground and become visible, it might be because your tree has started to lean to one side.

When that happens, get expert tree removal services to help you fix this issue before it causes severe damage to your yard, car, or other parts of your home.

Damaged Trunk

If you notice your tree is missing some pieces of its bark, it could be a sign that its trunk has started to deteriorate. Various mechanical injuries occur to trees from vandals, vehicles, construction or other abuse which can severely weaken the tree trunk. The trunk of the Scots Pine in the picture below has been girdled by a wire and while amazingly, the tree has survived, it is not structurally sound anymore. Tree removal for reasons like these is most unfortunate. If you are having construction done on your property take steps to protect your trees from damage. Ask a certified arborist for advice before the construction begins, as it is difficult to repair damage to trees once it has occurred.

Splitting/Cracking Trunks and Co-dominant stems.

Trees in a forest compete for light and tend to develop a single dominant trunk with proportionately smaller branches. This results in a strong structure, because the wood grains in the trunk and branches interlock and become very tough. If you’ve ever worked with lumber and encountered a hard knot, you know what we are talking about.

In urban or more open woodland areas, the same trees will develop co-dominant stems and branches because they don’t have the competing trees next to them. Unless this is corrected by pruning it becomes a structural defect. The grains of wood on co-dominant stems do not interlock and split apart more easily.


Often a crack or split will develop below the union of 2 or more co-dominant stems. These unions are very weak and tear apart easily in storms. The most common storm damaged trees encountered by arborists have this combination of co-dominant stems and a crack or split beneath it. If you notice this on any of your trees, you should call to have them inspected by a certified arborist. They may not need to be removed, but should be pruned regularly to correct the defect and alleviate the risk. Cabling and bracing can also be used to strengthen the tree. If there are other compounding factors such as poor tree health or decay then tree removal will mostly likely be required.

Green Ash with Codominant stems after a thunderstorm

Green Ash with Codominant stems  after a thunderstormCanopy-Die-back

Canopy Die-back

It is normal for some lower branches or interior branches on a tree to die over time, but it’s not normal for the top branches and branch tips to die off. If this occurs, the tree may be going into a downward spiral it will not recover from. Even if it can recover it is good to have the dead tops removed promptly; this would benefit the tree’s health and remove any hazards. Having a certified arborist inspect the tree at this juncture would be prudent. If the tree is not going to recover it will be safer and usually cheaper to remove it before it is completely dead and becomes more dangerous to work with.

Fungal Growth & Pest Damage

Apart from noticing physical injuries happening to your tree, you should also be paying close attention to possible fungal growth on your tree branches or trunk. Fungal growth occurs when there is a damaged or dead tree branch or trunk.

The process of fungal growth usually starts from the base and roots of a tree, finding its way up to the top afterward. If you see mushrooms growing on the side of your tree, it’s a sign that your tree’s trunk or some parts of it are dead.

The stability of your tree will be compromised when the fungus eats its way through its wood. To avoid further tree damage, contact your nearby arborists to remove your tree as soon as possible.


Hypoxylon Canker on Columnar Aspen

Insects can also cause significant damage to tree trunks and branches and this can weaken a tree to the point that tree removal would be prudent.

Borer holes on Columnar Aspen

Disease & Pest Containment

Trees suffer from a variety of diseases and insect pests, which as we’ve seen can weaken the tree. Even if the tree is alive and not that weak, it may be untreatable, and a source of contagion to other trees. In this case, the tree removal is necessary to prevent the spread of the pathogen to other trees. There are even laws which require tree removal in certain instances. For example, if you have an Elm tree which suddenly begins to die in large sections, you should have it inspected immediately by a certified arborist to insure there is no Dutch Elm disease present. If Dutch Elm disease is present the disease must be reported, and the City of Edmonton requires immediate tree removal and disposal by an approved professional arborist. This is a disease, which left unchecked could wipe out a large portion of the street trees in our region causing many millions of dollars of damage. Other well known diseases such as black-knot or fireblight may also warrant tree removal if a tree is heavily infected.

Root Damage

Last but not least, it could also be a sign that your tree needs immediate removal if you are experiencing root damage inside or around your home. Some roots can even break into your sewer main, resulting in plumbing clogs and leaks throughout your home. Roots might also damage your basement walls, decks, patios, and walkways.

The only way to overcome this problem is to remove your tree and as much of its roots as possible through professional tree removing service providers.

Neighbours Tree Company provides its residential and commercial clients with excellent tree removal services in Edmonton, Alberta. Visit our website to learn about our various tree services or contact us for personalized service.

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