5 Signs You Need to Remove a Tree

At Limbwalker, you’re probably well aware that we love trees. Because of that, we do everything in our power to protect and preserve their health. But sometimes it is necessary to remove trees, particularly if they are dead or dying. 

But sometimes homeowners aren’t always sure when to remove a tree. Although every case is different (and a tree will need a professional inspection before any definitive answer is made), we can at least provide some signs a tree needs to be removed. 

Any time that there is a question, we always invite you to reach out and ask. Sometimes people assume their tree needs to be removed when in reality, it can be saved. A professional will be able to help.


Signs a Tree Needs to be Removed

The following are some potential signs that a tree might require removal.

#1: The Tree Shows Signs of Dying (or Decay)

There are various signs that a tree is potentially dying or beginning to decay. For instance, trees might drop branches when they are dying.

While every tree loses some smaller branches and twigs during storms from time to time, if larger branches are starting to hang or fall, that’s a sign that your tree might be dealing with something a lot more serious. 


Dying trees tend to drop branches more frequently than healthy trees because they are drying out (and rotting). This will weaken the branches. 

Of course, not every tree that has lost a large limb is dying. Sometimes storm damage or other issues could be at play and a tree could still heal and repair itself. This is why it’s really important to have a professional inspect your tree.

Another sign that a tree might be dying is the growth of mushrooms and other fungi. Fungi love dead wood. The same is true for nesting animals. Woodpeckers, for instance, prefer dead, rotting wood because it’s easier for them to create nest cavities. If you notice a woodpecker has taken up residence in your tree, it could be a sign of decline.

Finally, you should also look for bark peeling off. When bark is peeling off or when there are a lot of cracks in the trunk, it may be a sign that your tree is in a state of decline. But peeling bark can also be a sign that your tree needs more nutrients. 

#2: The Tree is Leaning

A leaning tree could be a sign a tree needs to be removed…but not always. This is another situation where it needs to be evaluated by a professional. Some trees have always had a slight lean to them. But any “leaning” that is new, such as after a storm, needs to be evaluated. 

Certain trees naturally grow in a way that they become V-shaped, and this can make them a liability. But sometimes we can avoid removing these trees by using something called cabling and bracing. Often trees with these growth abnormalities are still in good health and cabling and bracing can be an effective solution.

But as we mentioned, anything new or sudden requires an evaluation. If your tree suffered storm damage, it could potentially be a fall risk.

Some other signs of storm damage include cracks in the trunk or limbs, broken or hanging limbs, and fallen limbs. 


#3: The Tree is Infested

We also sometimes have to remove trees when they become completely infested with invasive insects. For instance there are a number of tree borer insects that we deal with in the Louisville area. These are insects that can do significant damage if left unchecked. 

Of them, the Emerald Ash Borer is one of the worst.

This is a highly destructive pest that preys specifically on Ash trees. Across the country, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed more than 100 million Ash trees! There are treatments that can help prevent damage from this pest.

The good news is that not all trees that are affected by pests need to be removed. It just depends on the type of tree and pest that you’re dealing with…and how bad the damage is. Often, when these problems are caught early, they can be treated.


#4: The Tree has a Disease

Just like pest problems, trees are also subject to various diseases. While some diseases can be treated others can cause significant damage and kill your tree. Here in Louisville we deal with a variety of diseases and some are worse than others. Certain species are also more prone to disease than others.

In many cases, a Plant Health Care program can protect your trees from otherwise damaging diseases. But if your tree is dealing with a disease that can’t be cured, a tree care professional will let you know if removal is your best course of action.


The last thing that you want is for your tree to become a fall risk due to decay and dying.

#5: The Tree is in a Dangerous Location

When it comes to potential removal, sometimes it’s simply a matter of a tree being in a hazardous location. Nobody likes to have to remove a healthy tree but if it’s close to power lines or a home, it might be the safest course of action to take it down. 

We know that homeowners often feel nervous during storms when they have large trees near their home. That’s a valid concern. Every year trees cause millions of dollars in property damage from storms. You could always have a tree care professional evaluate your tree for safety if you’re worried.


An Expert will Know When to Remove a Tree 

While some of these sign a tree needs to be removed can help give you an idea of when to call in a professional, the good news is that you can lean on their expertise to make the best possible decision. 

You don’t have to know all the reasons as to when to remove a tree. 

If you have a tree care professional come out and evaluate your trees, they can ultimately let you know whether or not a tree needs to be removed.

In many cases, it’s a matter of peace of mind. Not knowing whether or not a tree needs to be removed can be really stressful. But with a trusted tree care professional involved, you can let go of those worries and rely on their expertise. 


How to Remove a Dead Tree 

If a tree professional does determine that your tree needs to be removed, you want to make sure that it’s done properly. 

It’s critical that you choose a company that takes this task seriously. 

Tree removal is intense and complicated work and can even pose some risks. But a qualified company that takes all of the necessary safety precautions will ensure that risks are mitigated and your tree is removed safely.


If you’d like to learn more about tree services for your Louisville home, get in touch, get your quote, and get back to enjoying your yard.

Get a Quote

Chris O'Bryan

Chris O'Bryan

Chris grew up in Louisville, KY. He holds a Forestry degree from the The University of Kentucky and a Master's Degree in Economics from Clemson University. He is a Certified Arborist and 5-time Kentucky Tree Climbing Champion. When not at work, he has fun with his family, enjoys traveling, one-wheeling, and working in his yard.

Related Posts