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Is Your Tree Dead? Here Are 6 Signs to Watch Out For!

Climate change is more rampant, which impacts the environment significantly. Nature struggles to keep up with human activities, which results in long-term effects. One of the obvious signs is the compromised life cycles of flora and fauna. Trees are heavily affected by the changes, and a lot of them are dying. However, it’s not easy to identify if a tree is dead because it doesn’t just fall off the ground. Here are some signs you need to look out for: 

  • Damaged Root System

Dead trees have damaged root systems. So, if you see decaying or damaged roots, it’s safe to say that the tree is already dead. Without a proper and healthy root system, the tree won’t be able to get its needs. Also, it can make the structure weak. So, if you notice that your tree is leaning low, it might already be dead. 

  • Tree Disease

Just like all the living things in the world, trees get sick, too! For example, if the tree is home to many pests and critters or notices a dense population of insects around it, they are indicators that your tree is sick. It will also show through damaged spots and deep wounds. 

  • Fungal Presence and Growth

Fungi can grow in trees, and in some cases, it’s normal. It becomes a problem when fungal growth is too much that it’s making the tree sick. If the tree is shrouded from roots to trunk with fungi, chances are, it’s already breaking down and decomposing inside. You can do a scratch test to confirm this: Beneath a layer of bark, check the cambium layer. If it’s brown and dry, the tree is already dead. 

  • Bark Absence

A tree that is dying will shed barks, so you need to watch out for this. When a tree becomes unhealthy, its barks become loose and fall to the ground. On the other hand, if the tree is already dead, you will notice big spots with the absence of bark. 

  • Bare Branches During Budding Season

It’s the budding season, and your tree is not showing signs of blossoming anytime soon. If that’s the case, then it’s likely the tree is already dead. If the branches don’t sprout any leaves or have no leaves at all, then they could already be dead.

  • Bad Smell

Dead trees usually give nasty odours from the decomposition or their slow degradation due to insect and pest infestation. If your trees have an unusual smell, it’s best to call an arborist to have them inspected. A foul smell doesn’t always mean the tree is dead, which is why it should be examined by a professional first. 


Knowing whether your trees are dead or alive is essential. That’s why you need to know these signs to help you identify if the tree is ready to be cut off. Fortunately, a dead tree usually gives off warning signs. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult with an arborist to ensure the best advice on what to do with your tree. Who knows, you might still be able to save it. 

Northside Tree and Garden Service offer tree services in the Inner West of Sydney. We have a range of high-quality tree services and solutions. Contact us today.