9 Warning Signs You Need Tree Removal

Published on January 17, 2024

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signs I need tree removal

Have you walked outside lately, looked at that towering oak in your yard, and thought, "Hmm, that branch looks pretty questionable?" Tree troubles can escalate quickly, but homeowners often ignore subtle signs of disease or damage. Don't become another statistic!

So, what are the signs I need tree removal? Leaning trunks, canker sores, holes and cracks, insect infestations, broken branches, toppling in storms, thinning canopy, mushroom growth, and excessive insect damage are warning signs that a tree is failing, and removal should be considered.

If you notice any of these 9 warning signs, it's time to call a professional arborist before the situation gets really hairy (or should I say stick-y).

1. Leaning Hazard Lurkers

Do you feel like your tree is playing a game of limbo? Healthy, happy trees grow straight and tall—not slanted. If your tree is leaning to one side, the roots may be damaged or the soil uneven. An angled tree is more vulnerable to storms since it already looks a little...tipsy.

I'd keep an eye on trees with apparent drinking problems. You don't want them to wake up with a bad hangover after the next windstorm. 

You can always call our team for an assessment. Learn more about us!

2. What is a Sign I Need Tree Removal? Tongue-Twisting Cankers

Cankers are weeping sores on tree branches and trunks. Essentially fungal infections, these oozing areas signal that trouble's afoot. Tree diseases spread rapidly, so promptly prune away cankered sections. Skip this step, and you’ll have a full-blown epidemic.

Canker—even the word sounds nasty. If you spot these yucky sores, call an arborist STAT.

3. Creepy Cavities

When you brush your teeth, you better scrub out every last cavity to prevent future dental dilemmas. It's the same concept with trees. Hollowed-out trunks and branches collect moisture and decay spread.

Keep an eagle eye out for holes and crevices. Can you stick your hand inside the trunk? Big red flag! Cavities expand over time and considerably weaken tree structures.

tree removal

4. Bark Beetle Infestations

Tiny bark beetles launch full-scale invasions, overwhelming trees in droves. These mini menaces munch through the inner bark and cut off the tree's circulatory system.

How do you spot an ambush? Check for tiny holes littering the bark, sawdust piles at the base of the trunk, dying branches, and stunted growth. If you catch an infestation early, insecticides may eliminate the swarm.

5. Broken Branches

Healthy branches withstand weather wear-and-tear. But cracked and split branches indicate potential trouble. Weak attachments fracture under pressure. Damaged limbs that linger invite diseases and decay.

Chop chop! Prune away busted branches before the problem mushrooms. A few lopped limbs are no reason to panic. But numerous broken branches suggest instability.

6. Toppling After Storms

Your tree didn't just lose a few sticks during that last storm—it toppled over, completely obstructing your front porch. ROOT issues often cause trees to tip over since anchoring roots keeps trees grounded. Fungal infections, poor drainage, and erosion undermine root systems.

If you recently found your tree looking more horizontal than vertical, surgery may save it. Just beware since tipped trees never adequately reestablish stability.

tree trimming

7. Sparse Canopies

Like alopecia in humans, thinning tree canopies indicate distress. Normal spring growth should produce a bursting green crown. When branches look lackluster year after year, something is inhibiting leaf production.

Evaluate the size and density of your tree's crown. If the canopy seems sparse or overly thin, consider testing for diseases. Droughts and extreme weather also cause leaves to dwindle.

8. Mushroom Mania

While mushrooms naturally grow in moist wooded areas, seeing fungi sprouting at your tree’s base is cause for concern. These toadstools signal advanced decay and moisture saturation in roots and trunks. The mushrooms themselves don’t damage trees—they feed on already rotting matter.

Before mushrooms multiply like bunnies, call an arborist to determine if the infection is treatable. If fungus already permeates, removal may be your safest option.

9. Bug Buffets

Swarms of insects feasting on your tree surely don’t have its health interests in mind. Damaging bugs target struggling trees. For example, bark beetles scope out weak trees under drought stress. Meanwhile, caterpillars and borers chew through thin canopies lacking adequate foliage to support their appetites.

When bugs go bonkers, tree problems likely lurk below the surface. Figure out why they’re hunkering down in your yard. Then, remedy the underlying issue, if possible.

tree service arborist west bloomfield

Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!

By the time most homeowners recognize issues, significant damage already occurred. Preventative care and vigilant monitoring are vital for long-term tree health.

Scrutinize your landscape frequently—especially mature trees. Annual check-ups by a certified arborist detect problems before they pose safety hazards and expense headaches.

If your tree déjà vu has you feeling concerned, pick up the phone now. The longer you wait, the more drastic and dangerous the surgery (if it’s still possible at all). Plus, tree removal only gets more complicated and costly if they totally bite the dust. Trust me, you’d rather not have a fallen tree crush your garage...or worse!

About West Bloomfield Tree Service & Removal

West Bloomfield Tree Service & Removal has been proudly serving tree care needs in the West Bloomfield, MI area since 2012. Our team of ISA Certified Arborists specializes in tree removal, trimming, disease treatment, stump grinding, and more. If you notice any concerning signs like leaning branches or fungus growth around your valuable trees, don't hesitate to call us at (248) 487-1721 for professional assessment and solutions. No tree is too big or small for our licensed and insured crew!


Why would a tree need to be removed?

A tree may need to be removed if it poses a safety hazard due to disease, decay, storm damage, or other integrity issues that cannot be resolved by pruning or treatment alone.

How do you know if a tree is dying?

Look for thinning canopies with dying branches, inward cracking or rotting bark, fungus or mushrooms sprouting at the base of the trunk, brittle limbs, and evidence of pest infestation as major signs a tree is declining in health. Dead or peeling tips of leaves and lack of new growth in spring and summer may also indicate a tree lacks the vigor needed to survive. If a tree shows multiple symptoms of overall weakness, it likely requires removal before it perishes fully or threatens safety.

How do you know if a tree is beyond saving?

It can be difficult for untrained eyes to determine when a tree is beyond saving and needs removal. Warning signs like mushroom growth around more than 50 percent of the base, major lean with roots exposed, and extreme canopy loss indicate progression to an advanced state of decline. An experienced arborist should evaluate the tree if multiple structural defects and disease symptoms pose clear safety risks that pruning and treatment can no longer adequately correct. In severe cases where the trunk has undergone significant interior rotting that destabilized over 75 percent mass, the tree has likely reached a point where attempting to save it does more harm than good.

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