Lately I have been getting a lot of questions from homeowners about tree health and the potential hazards associated with an unhealthy tree. I assume this increase in worry is largely due to some of the big hurricanes and storms over the last few years.
While they don’t all affect our area, they can certainly increase concern. This can be especially true for homeowners with nearby trees that could fall on their house.
Anyways, if you’re worried about your tree, the first thing to do is correctly identify it. This is crucial, because obviously not all trees grow the same.
For instance, shade intolerant and early succession trees such as pines and aspens tend to kill off lower branches that are being shaded out. As a result, these trees will tend to have many dead lower limbs.
This does not mean the tree is in bad shape. If the limbs are posing a potential hazard you can have them removed, but the tree itself is most likely fine.
Mid-succession trees such as ashes and cherries also tend to accumulate some lower dead limbs. These trees will have fewer dead limbs then aspens and pines. The dead branches will also tend to be throughout the tree. Once again the tree itself is usually fine and the accumulation of dead limbs is normal.
Later succession trees such as sugar maples and hemlocks are shade tolerant. This means that the tree will hold on to its lower limbs. If you see a significant number of the lower branches looking sick or dead, then there is probably a health problem. If that’s the case the tree becomes a candidate for treatment or removal. That’s determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the problem.
Keep in mind that for all species of trees- significant die back (many limbs looking dead) in the top of the tree is a bad sign.
If you’re concerned about one or more of your trees and need a professional and honest assessment, we will be happy to help. We provide various tree services in Vestal, NY and throughout Broome County. Call us at (607) 652-3625.